As everyone awaits for the Supreme Court’s decision on Obama’s healthcare law, the federal health advisory panel, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, said that doctors should screen the weight and height for all patients to determine if they are obese.
Though the move could significantly increase insurance coverage of weight loss treatments, the recommendation is part of the effort to combat the obesity epidemic in the country. According to the statistics posted on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, more than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese. During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in the obesity rate in the United States. Even more alarming is the fact that even child obesity has more than tripled in the past three decades.
Obesity puts a person at greater risk of acquiring several health problems, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer – some of the leading causes of death. People with a body mass index of 30 or above are already considered obese.
Susan Curry, a member of the task force and dean of the University of Iowa College of Public Health in Iowa City, said “The good news is that even what you might consider to be modest rather than radical weight loss has tremendous health benefits, including lowering diabetes risk and blood pressure.”
The U.S. government-backed panel also recommends that screened patients should be referred to intensive diet and exercise programs if necessary. Curry adds that effective weight loss programs include both nutrition and exercise support.
Following a review of the medical literature, the task force concluded that intensive behavioral programs with at least 12 sessions typically helped people lose between nine and 15 pounds, or about 6 percent of their original weight.