May 10, 2013 1:12 am
"Obesity is one of the most complex, chronic medical conditions," said Harvey Grill, PhD, TOS President. "Successful treatment often requires the support and guidance of professionals. Unfortunately, the way many people look at obesity in the U.S. is limiting the treatment approach, which often means lower standards of care, inconsistent communication of treatment options, and disjointed care coordination. Multidisciplinary care is necessary to treat obesity, particularly given the complex nature of the disease and its impact on both physical and mental health."
It is widely accepted that obesity puts individuals at risk for more than 30 health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Obesity also has a strong correlation to depression. However, evidence increasingly shows that it is harder for some people to take effective steps on their own to lose weight. For example, brain activity studies show that obese people get a smaller "reward" when eating than people of normal weight and each year more genetic factors are found to be associated with obesity.
As part of the effort, TOS is looking to policymakers to improve access for obesity treatment so those affected can get the same necessary medical care and treatment coverage that's available to all others who suffer from other chronic diseases. Some members of Congress are already working to improve access to weight-loss counseling and new prescription drugs for chronic weight management through Medicare. Legislation is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks.
In fact, a 5–10 percent weight loss alone can have significant benefits for a patients' health and new research shows that preventing obesity can have substantial long-term cost savings for the entire healthcare system.
"Obesity treatment is a smart strategy to improve public health and clinician engagement is an important factor," said Grill. "Patients are three times more likely to lose weight if their healthcare provider talks to them about the variety of options available for managing and treating the disease."
Through the newly launched campaign website, clinicians can sign up to receive the following tools by mail:
• BMI prescription pad: Clinicians can record and share information with patients about BMI and waist circumference, two of the primary measures of obesity. The pad also includes information about obesity-related risks and provides links to find out more information about the disease.
• Physician office poster, "Obesity is a serious disease": As they wait to see the doctor, patients can learn more about obesity, such as related health conditions and the significant impact moderate weight loss, as little as 5 percent, can have on these conditions.
• BMI wheel calculator: Technology is not necessary to determine BMI. This simple, circular paper tool allows for a quick calculation of BMI by matching height and weight.
Source: The Obesity Society
Published with permission from RISMedia.