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How Doctors Actually Diagnose Obesity

Saturday - 4/6/2013, 5:22pm  ET

The obesity crisis in America is a hotly debated topic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 35% of adults in the U.S. are considered to be obese, and this disease can lead to chronic health problems such as diabetes. The need for new ways to fight this disease has led VIVUS , Arena Pharmaceuticals , and Orexigen Therapeutics to develop medications for the treatment of obesity. VIVUS' drug Qsymia is already on the U.S. market, though sales have not impressed investors so far, Arena is nearing the launch of its medicine Belviq, and Orexigen's drug is in late-stage clinical trials.

As investors assess the merits of each stock, many may not fully understand the complexities of treating this disease. For instance, what role do drugs actually play in treatment? Are lifestyle changes more important? Is obesity even considered to be a disease?

To help demistify these topics, Motley Fool health care analyst Max Macaluso spoke with Dr. Domenica Rubino, a weight-management expert and representative of The Obesity Society. In the following segment from their discussion, Dr. Rubino discusses how physicians actually diagnose obesity. A transcript follows the video.

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The relevant video segment can be found between 3:03 and 5:18.