Obesity and overweight affects approximately 2 in 3 adults in the United States, and has an enormous impact on our healthcare system. We now recognize obesity as a chronic disease process, associated with immunologic, hormonal and metabolic changes. Treating obesity is critical, as research shows as little as 3-5% body weight loss can help improve obesity-associated diseases, such as diabetes, and improves long-term health outcomes. Unfortunately, our biology makes it easy to gain weight, but resistant to losing weight and keeping it off. Understanding this physiology and the complex interaction between the genetic, medical, psychosocial, environmental and hormonal factors that contribute to obesity allows the experienced team at the University of Maryland Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology (UMCDE) Weight Management Program formulate a personalized plan to help patients lose weight and keep it off for good.

The UMCDE Weight Management Program uses a variety of evidenced-based approaches to weight management, including customized nutrition plans, medically-supervised low-calorie diets, exercise coaching, behavioral and psychiatric care, use of anti-obesity pharmacotherapy and evaluation and referral to bariatric surgery when indicated. We are passionate about helping patients make lifestyle changes that will have a lasting impact on their health through classes, support groups and one-on-one coaching. Our multidisciplinary team includes obesity-medicine physician experts, who work closely with dietitians, diabetes educators, psychiatrists, social workers and community health workers to meet the needs of patients with a diverse range of medical and social factors impacting their body weight and health. The program is led by Ava Port, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a board-certified endocrinologist and diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM). Dr. Port is one of the few physicians nationwide to have completed a formal fellowship in obesity medicine and nutrition (2009). Our other experts, endocrinologist Marjorie Pennant, MD, assistant professor of medicine, and internist Mihir Patel, MD, assistant professor of medicine, are also ABOM board certified in obesity medicine.

The experienced team of weight management specialists at the UMCDE are committed to safe and effective weight loss. The Weight Management Program also incorporates the most recent technologies to provide the best care available to patients. This includes use of continuous glucose monitoring technology for individuals with diabetes or at risk of diabetes to help them better understand the impact food has on their blood sugars, or in individuals experiencing symptoms of post-bariatric hypoglycemia for diagnostic purposes. UMCDE also recently acquired a medical Body Composition Analyzer (mBCA) which uses bioimpedance technology to break down weight into body compartments, specifically Fat Mass and Fat-Free Mass, Body Water (made up of extracellular water and intracellular water) and Skeletal Muscle Mass.1 "The body composition analyzer is a quick and reliable measurement tool that allows us to better understand an individual's weight breakdown (i.e. how much fat mass, lean mass and water someone is "made" of) which can be informative when tracking weight change over time, helping tailor weight loss goals or to better understand someone's metabolic risk," Dr. Port explains. "Obesity is a chronic disease that requires a comprehensive, personalized approach to weight loss, and this is just another tool to help us meet an individual patient's needs."

We care for a variety of common weight issues, as well as complex metabolic and weight-related disorders, such as:

  • Pre-diabetes and diabetes
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Post-menopausal weight gain
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and NASH
  • Post-bariatric hypoglycemia
  • Weight regain following bariatric surgery
  • Monogenic and syndromic forms of obesity

The Weight Management Program approaches each patient as an individual to create a personalized weight loss plan to ensure patients not only meet their targets for a healthier body but also incorporate these changes into their lifestyle in a way that will improve their health long-term. Providing patients with appropriate educational resources can help them remember important information, enhance their ability to manage their health, increase their participation in informed decision-making, and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

Obesity Medicine experts at the UMCDE Weight Management Program collect data, discuss lifestyle and review medical history before creating the personalized plans for patients. The UMCDE Weight Management Program is located on the University of Maryland Medical Center's Midtown Campus.

To refer a patient to Weight Management Program, call 443-682-6800 or visit ummidotwn.org/endocrinology for more information.


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