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Obesity is a chronic and complex disease affecting millions of people worldwide. Currently, there is no standard definition of success for the management of obesity. We set out to complete a synthesis of clinical practice guidelines for obesity management for adult populations, aiming to provide both a quantitative descriptive and qualitative analysis of definitions of success in clinical practice guidelines. An electronic search retrieved 4477 references. Sixteen clinical practice guidelines were included after screening and full-text review. We coded definitions of success 147 times across the included guidelines. No standard or explicit definition of success was identified in the guidelines but rather success was implicitly defined. We developed three themes describing how success was defined in the clinical practice guidelines: Knowledge-based decision making; management of expectations; and the perception of control. The review reinforced that success is an inherently subjective and complex concept. Defining success is limited by existing studies that focus on weight loss and would benefit from additional research on different outcomes. Equally, the relationship between people living with obesity and their clinicians should be further explored to understand how defining success is controlled, discussed and framed in a clinical setting.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical Obesity

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