Has Obesity Inertia Set In?

Monday, October 27th, 2008
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

We have been talking about the obesity epidemic for so long that perhaps “obesity inertia” has set in. Nearly every day a new survey documents another health risk faced by the obese — from osteoarthritis of the knee in the elderly to pelvic disorders in women — yet the recent F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America, 2008 report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation indicates little progress at the state level:

Adult obesity rates rose in 37 states this year, for the second consecutive year in 24 states and for a third consecutive year in 19 states. No state saw a decrease. Though many promising policies have emerged to promote physical activity and good nutrition in communities, the report concludes that they are not being adopted or implemented at levels needed to turn around this health crisis.

On a more positive note, more than half of the 287 healthcare organizations that took our recent survey on obesity management and prevention efforts have initiatives afoot, with another 25 percent readying new programs for the coming year. This week’s featured white paper, Obesity and Weight Management: Weighing in on the Growing Epidemic, highlights these initiatives, including the latest reimbursement trends for obesity-related care.

Obesity is a well-documented comorbidity — almost 80 percent of obese adults also have diabetes, dyslipidemia, coronary-artery disease, hypertension, gallbladder disease or osteoarthritis. But when the bulk of the office visit is directed at managing chronic illness, depression in this population may be overlooked. Depression management programs can help bridge this care gap. Five days remain for you to join the more than 200 healthcare organizations that have taken our October e-survey on depression DM programs. Complete the survey and you will receive an e-summary of the compiled results.

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