States Hungry for Obesity and Weight Management Programs

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
This post was written by Patricia Donovan

Almost a third of people in 12 states were obese in 2010, according to a new CDC report. Also, no state met the national Healthy People 2010 goal to lower the prevalence of obesity to 15 percent.

Our country in general and the healthcare industry in particular are hungry for obesity and weight management interventions, according to this CDC report and recent market research by the Healthcare Intelligence Network. Among the program challenges reported by 130 survey respondents was an inability to respond to overwhelming demand for obesity and weight management programs. Some even had to limit the number of participants in programs.

The most revealing trend has been the increase in obesity and weight control programs for children and adolescents — up sevenfold in the two years since we last surveyed on this topic. Payors in particular are focused on these early interventions, launching obesity and weight management programs in schools, including family in weight management education efforts, and dedicating case management resources to this population.

Healthcare providers also are taking on a larger role, as more organizations rely on physician referrals to recognize weight and obesity issues in patients and educate patients on nutrition, the value of physical exercise and its potential to trigger more serious and costly health complications.

The survey results indicate that it doesn’t seem to take much to motivate and engage participants, and that efforts in this area need to be fun. Many are modeling competitions on television’s popular “Biggest Loser” program. While there are some high-priced incentives for profound weight loss, it seems that a $25 gift card or a discount to a weight management program or gym is enough to get people moving in the right direction.

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One Response to “States Hungry for Obesity and Weight Management Programs”

  1. William McPeck says:

    As I read the post, the issue is not a lack of effective programs, but a lack of public financial resources to deliver the number of programs needed.

    The other issue with weight management programs is that while we know how to help people lose the weight, the real challenge lies in helping people to keep the weight off they have lost.