Game-Changing Blueprint for Obesity Definition, Diagnosis and Treatment Challenges the Medical Status Quo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – (December 21, 2016) – Aiming to revolutionize the diagnosis, treatment and management of obesity, one of the world’s most insidious chronic diseases, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) and the American College of Endocrinology (ACE) today released a bold position statement that redefines the medical diagnostic term for obesity as a far-reaching, complications-centric chronic disease state whose measurement goes beyond the traditional singular focus on Body Mass Index, or BMI.

Labelled by statement authors as ABCD—Adiposity-Based Chronic Disease—the newly introduced term focuses on the characteristic pathophysiological effects of excess weight rather than the weight itself, standardizing protocols for weight loss and complications management and advocating for the universal acceptance of lifestyle medicine -- a structured scientific approach to decreasing disease risk and illness burden by utilizing interventions such as nutrition, physical activity and behavioral medicine -- as a necessary component of care. 

The “adiposity-based” component points to abnormalities in the mass, distribution and/or function of adipose (fat) tissue, and the “chronic disease” component underscores associated complications producing morbidity and mortality.

The position statement is a direct outgrowth of AACE/ACE’s 2014 Consensus Conference on Obesity, in which a collaborative of biomedical, government and regulatory, health industry and economics, and education and research professional organization stakeholders from the obesity arena agreed on the need for a medically meaningful and actionable diagnosis of obesity and logistics for an effective universal implementation.

AACE first declared obesity as a disease state in 2012, an assessment which was officially adopted by the American Medical Association in 2014.

“For far too long, ‘obesity’ as defined by body mass index has been an imprecise and confusing term that fails to convey the health implications of excess weight,” said W. Timothy Garvey, MD, FACE, position statement co-author and chair of AACE’s Obesity Scientific Committee.

“We believe strongly that the ABCD terminology dispels the ambiguities and stigma associated with the term obesity, while encouraging improvements in patient clinical care, appropriate screening for associated comorbidities and structured treatment protocols,” added Jeffrey I. Mechanick, MD, FACN, FACP, FACE, ECNU, American College of Endocrinology President and also a statement co-author. The ABCD diagnostic term will be incorporated into the AACE/ACE chronic care model to advance population health domestically and globally, he noted.

In the planning stages for early 2017 is a second AACE/ACE Obesity Consensus Conference where implementation of the ABCD medical diagnosis will be discussed, as well as how the recommended changes can be incorporated in ICD-10 diagnostic coding.

To read the position statement in its entirety, visit:

About the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE)

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) represents more than 6,500 endocrinologists in the United States and abroad. AACE is the largest association of clinical endocrinologists in the world. A majority of AACE members are certified in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism and concentrate on the treatment of patients with endocrine and metabolic disorders including diabetes, thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, growth hormone deficiency, cholesterol disorders, hypertension and obesity. Visit our site at


About the American College of Endocrinology (ACE)

The American College of Endocrinology (ACE) is the educational and scientific arm of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). ACE is the leader in advancing the care and prevention of endocrine and metabolic disorders by: providing professional education and reliable public health information; recognizing excellence in education, research and service; promoting clinical research and defining the future of Clinical Endocrinology. For more information, please visit