Watch CBS News

Primary care doctors in UCHealth prioritize weight loss discussions with patients through Pathweigh process

Doctors in UCHealth prioritize weight loss discussions with patients through Pathweigh process
Doctors in UCHealth prioritize weight loss discussions with patients through Pathweigh process 02:55

More than 40% of Americans are considered obese, but it's often not the first health concern that's brought up by primary care doctors. UCHealth wants to change that at its clinics in Colorado. The University of Colorado Hospital and CU School of Medicine have built a process over the past 5 years for weight-prioritized visits.

One participant, Joanna Moore, said she remembers the first time her primary care doctor asked about her weight. Moore said "she sat there and listened intently" as Moore recalled a lifetime of food anxiety that began at age 6.

"My mother had me dieting. I remember being 6 years old and being food restricted," Moore said.


She's now 72 and has tried many different weight loss programs. Her UCHealth doctor put her on a different path. She's among hundreds of UCHealth patients now losing weight with Pathweigh, a process created by a team of doctors that integrates weight management into primary care practices. UCHeath describes it as follows:

Pathweigh is not a weight loss program, instead, it enables primary care providers to deliver highly individualized care for patients with obesity, according to their needs and preferences.

"We already see them for preventative care and disease management. Having obesity management in the same place makes a lot of sense," said Moore's doctor Dr. Mitra Razzaghi.

Many of the diseases Razzaghi treats her patients for are associated with weight. Obesity is linked to more than 200 medical conditions.

Just as every patient's history is unique, Razzaghi says so, too, is every weight management plan.

Pathweigh founders explain how Colorado patients are being helped 03:28

"It's not one size fits all," Razzaghi said. "We go by history: What is causing the issue" What works for the person?"

With her patients, Razzaghi considers every weight loss tool -- from surgical intervention to behavioral health care, lifestyle changes to lifelong medications -- to help her patients make long term change. And she says she's with them for the long haul. Many, like Moore, use a combination of drugs, diet and exercise.

Moore said she's lost about 54 pounds since she started with Pathweigh, and she's done it without starving or stressing over food.

A study by UCHealth found patients in Pathweigh lost three times as much as patients in other clinics.

"I have a lot of life left to live. I'm more comfortable and more confident," Moore said.

In addition to being available in Colorado UCHealth clinics, Pathweigh is also available for patients in Wyoming. Learn more at

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.