Founder’s Message

The Story Behind Unraveling Obesity

Hello and thank you for visiting Unraveling Obesity! Here is the story behind it.

As a faith-filled and McGill-trained nurse who is passionate about health promotion, I always want to make a positive difference in people’s lives, whether as a bedside nurse, nurse team leader, assistant director of nursing on a unit, nurse care manager, health coach, nurse advisor, project nurse, or weight loss consultant. I’m on a God-given mission to empower individuals to take charge of their health and lead a healthy lifestyle. In promoting healthy behaviors to improve the quality of life, one of my goals is to help others know that there is science behind obesity and its management and treatment is not simply “eating less and moving more”.

Because obesity is a serious, chronic, progressive, and complex medical condition, a patient’s weight must be assessed, monitored, managed, and treated using a comprehensive and science-based approach, which results in successful and sustainable weight loss. In helping my patients improve their metabolic health, I created an initial intake form that was thorough to be able to paint a clinical picture and understand the cause(s) of weight gain. This initial patient intake form, which included medical history, medication, weight history, a nutrition evaluation, eating habits, physical activities, and a psychological and sleep evaluation, was 33 pages. Although it allowed me to understand a patient’s unique story, health potential (strengths, motivation, resources), and challenges and helped him/her in choosing health goals, it was time-consuming because of its length.

In 2020, I thought of creating an online obesity screening tool that is HIPAA-compliant, fast, reliable, and automated, which can help with the initial assessment. My hope was to create something different, based on science and grounded in truth (such as the Obesity Medicine Association’s/OMA’s 4 pillars of clinical obesity treatment), for the best interest of patients in helping them improve their metabolic health and quality of life, efficient in not causing “survey fatigue”, useful for healthcare professionals in collecting relevant data while saving time, and also can be accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere. Because this was a novel idea, I had to build a successful project team that included obesity medicine leaders, business and information technology experts, and obesity patient advocates. Unraveling Obesity’s team vetted the questions from my initial intake form, chose the minimum number per pillar (medical, nutritional, physical activity, behavioral), and placed them in the optimal order to be able to decode weight loss and obesity as a means to get to the true cause(s) of weight gain for a given patient. Automation was also added to the tool. This provides users with individual scores to know their risk of obesity and whether they should seek help from certified obesity medicine specialists. In addition, it guides primary care physicians during the assessment process as it helps them collect all the relevant data to treat weight or refer their patients with obesity and those who are at “high-risk for obesity” to obesity-certified specialists. Furthermore, it helps obesity medicine specialists to save time and focus on deeper issues with their patients.

In a nutshell, Unraveling Obesity’s screening tool will help raise awareness about the importance of recognizing obesity as a complex and multifactorial medical condition that is like any other. It will also help patients and healthcare professionals realize the importance of taking a preventive approach, which can improve one’s metabolic health and quality of life.

Let’s help curb the obesity epidemic together!

(Nina) Nermeen Asham,

Founder & CEO at Unraveling Obesity