Abdeen is board certified in obesity medicine.

FORT SMITH, Ark. – Dr. Yazan Abdeen knows from personal experience how difficult it can be to lose weight and keep it off.

“I was overweight earlier in life and realized how risky it could be for my body,” recalled Dr. Abdeen, a pulmonologist with Mercy in Fort Smith. “I wanted to do something to help people in the Fort Smith area lose weight by opening a clinic.”

As a pulmonologist, Dr. Abdeen sees many patients who are overweight or obese and have related conditions such as diabetes and sleep disorders.

“I noticed how much their weight affected their health adversely,” he said. “They are risking their lives.”

That concern for patients prompted Dr. Abdeen to become educated in weight management, including multiple courses in obesity treatment through Harvard Medical School. Even though obesity is considered to be the most prevalent chronic disease in the U.S., many physicians aren’t trained in how to manage it. Dr. Abdeen has been certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine.

“People can lose weight by changing their lifestyle,” which starts with eating the right foods in correct portions and exercising, he said. “In addition, there may be medical conditions and medications that keep people from losing and managing their weight.”

Mercy Clinic Weight Management, which opened May 1, offers an integrated approach to managing weight and improving overall health and wellness. Working together with a primary care provider, the team of specialists will create individualized care for each patient’s needs and weight-loss goals.

Candidates for the weight management program have a body mass index (BMI) more than 30 or a BMI more than 27 with additional diseases or disorders including hypertension or diabetes. Patients in the program meet with nutritionists, exercise physiologists and surgeons, if needed.

Services are customized for each individual and may include:

• Diet and exercise plans

•Lifestyle coaching

• Weight control medication

• Medication adjustment

• Surgical referrals

• Post-operative care

Mercy Clinic Weight Management is a one-year program, with 12 to 16 weeks of weight loss and maintenance, for adults 17 and older. The program is cash based, with some insurance covering doctor visits and labs. No referral is required. Call 479-314-4620 to schedule a consultation.

“Our goal is to send people on a journey to achieve a healthier lifestyle by the end of the program,” Dr. Abdeen said. “We will address any medical or psychological problems and causes, then help them to lose weight and maintain an optimal weight.”