Skip to main content

The 5 As

The 5As model was originally designed as a behavioral intervention strategy for smoking cessation in patient consultations.1 The model was modified for obesity management for health care professionals to use as a framework to guide a conversation. The 5As model has been associated with increased patient motivation and behavioral change when used by health care providers in weight-management consultations with patients.2

The 5As for obesity management are as follows3:



  • Ask for permission to discuss weight
  • Explore readiness for change



  • Assess obesity class and stage
  • Assess for drivers, complications, and barriers    



  • Advise on obesity risks
  • Explain benefits of modest weight loss
  • Explain need for long-term strategy
  • Discuss treatment options



  • Agree on realistic weight-loss expectations
  • Focus on behavioral goals (SMART) and health outcomes
  • Agree on treatment plan



  • Address drivers and barriers
  • Provide education and resources
  • Refer to appropriate provider
  • Arrange follow-up

For more information on the 5As of Obesity Management™, please visit Additional links to guidelines can be found here.

Also in Professional Education:


  1. Fiore MC, Jaén CR, Baker TB, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. May 2008.
  2. Jay M, Gillespie C, Schlair S, Sherman S, Katlet A. Physicians’ use of the 5As in counseling obese patients: is the quality of counseling associated with patients’ motivation and intention to lose weight? BMC Health Serv Res. 2010;10:159.
  3. Vallis M, Piccinini-Vallis H, Sharma AM, Freedhoff Y. Modified 5 As: Minimal intervention for obesity counseling in primary care. Can Fam Physician. 2013;59:27-31.