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You Can’t Afford to Ignore Obesity: How Obesity Treatment Saves Time, Money and Lives



Why should a busy healthcare provider take time out of their day to treat obesity when their patients are dealing with so many other health issues? This seems to be the prevailing question among many providers, despite obesity’s 2013 designation as a disease. There are so many other diseases and ailments that need to be treated, so why obesity?

The answer: Because we can’t afford not to! And that applies to time, money and the health of your patients.

It’s true that chronic diseases suck up the majority of healthcare resources; 75 percent of all health care costs are linked to chronic conditions. People with chronic conditions are the most frequent users of health care in the U.S., and they account for 81 percent of hospital admissions; 91 percent of all prescriptions filled; and 76 percent of all physician visits. Chronic disease is widespread, and it’s only getting worse. By 2025, chronic diseases will affect an estimated 164 million Americans — nearly half (49 percent) of the population

In response to the growing concern over chronic disease, many healthcare providers and hospitals are investing thousands of dollars in resources and time to implement multi-level treatment plans targeting chronic conditions. But the question many advocates are forgetting to ask is: What is one of the most common links between many chronic conditions?

The answer: OBESITY.

Obesity is associated with significantly increased risk of more than 20 chronic diseases and health conditions that cause devastating consequences and increased mortality. Consider the following statistics:

• In the often-cited Framingham Offspring Study, obesity was responsible for 78 percent of cases of hypertension in men and 64 percent in women
• The well-known Nurses’ Health Study of more than 44,000 women found high waist circumference resulted in a two-fold increase in coronary heart disease
More than 85 percent of people who have type 2 diabetes are overweight, and more than 50 percent are obese
• Overweight and obesity are associated with increased mortality from diabetes and kidney disease, resulting in over 60,000 excess deaths per year

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Obesity, in many cases, is the direct cause of many of the chronic conditions that we are spending so much time and money treating. Many of these conditions can be prevented, delayed, or alleviated by simply treating the cause, not just the symptoms. Research shows that modest weight loss (five to 10 percent of body weight) can reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions dramatically, and this amount of weight loss is achievable through various evidence-based medical obesity treatment models.

Not only can obesity treatment save physicians time and money by decreasing healthcare costs associated with comorbid chronic conditions, it has also been shown to be a proven revenue generating model, with real financial benefits. In a climate when we’re unsure about where we will stand with insurance and Medicare, it is imperative for healthcare providers to proactively look for new and innovative models to save time and money, and ultimately, to save lives.

Are you still asking yourself, “Why treat obesity?”


Sources: Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, Hospitals & Health Networks, Stop Obesity Alliance

Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation


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One-Third of the World is Overweight and We Are Part of the Problem



According to a recent article by CNN, 2 billion adults and children worldwide – the equivalent of one-third of the world’s population -- is overweight, and the U.S. is among the countries most severely affected.

The article reflected the results of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that included 195 countries and territories. The study also notes that an increasing number of people globally are dying from comorbid conditions related to obesity, such as cardiovascular disease.

“People who shrug off weight gain do so at their own risk -- risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and other life-threatening conditions,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, who worked on the study. “Those half-serious New Year’s resolutions to lose weight should become year-round commitments to lose weight and prevent future weight gain,” he said in a statement.

The conclusions of the study do important work in highlighting obesity as a growing concern in global public health as a chronic condition in and of itself; however, researchers also hope to educate the public at large about the link between obesity and other diseases in the hopes that preventative measures and treatment can help people avert early mortality. Almost 70 percent of deaths related to an elevated BMI in the analysis were due to cardiovascular disease, killing 2.7 million people in 2015, with diabetes being the second leading cause of death.

The study notes that obesity rates rose in all countries studied, irrespective of the country’s income level. “Changes in the food environment and food systems are probably major drivers,” they write. “Increased availability, accessibility, and affordability of energy dense foods, along with intense marketing of such foods, could explain excess energy intake and weight gain among different populations.”

While obesity rates continue to rise in the U.S., with approximately one-third of our own adult population being overweight or obese, we are luckier than other countries to have access to medical resources that can help curb this epidemic. Now more than ever, the need to begin treating obesity is becoming a public health imperative and medical providers are being called on to lead the charge. (Interested in learning how obesity treatment affects population health? Register for this free webcast!)

Treating obesity is easier than you may think, especially when you work with an experienced partner. Robard takes all the guess work out of treating obesity, and provides all the tools and resources to get you started within 60 days. Join in the conversation that’s happening, not just around the country, but around the world, and learn more about medical weight management today.




Source: CNN

Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation



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How I Treat Obese Patients in a Federally Qualified Health Care Clinic




Two of the most exciting parts being a physician working in a federally qualified health care clinic are providing medical care that I believe makes a difference and helps to put the patient in charge of their own health care, and helping my patients gain medical literacy. This includes discussing their weight.

Being overweight or obese is a gateway to an extensive variety of disease states across a multiplicity of organ systems. Obesity is a chronic, relapsing, multi-factorial, neurobehavioral disease, wherein an increase in body fat promotes adipose tissue dysfunction and abnormal fat mass physical forces, resulting in adverse metabolic, biomechanical, and psychosocial health consequences.
1

To both prevent and treat this disease, the field of obesity medicine is an exciting and growing field that is marrying new and evolving sciences, cognitive behavioral therapies, and mind-body medicine modalities.

I have made it a personal policy to discuss weight with 100 percent of my patients. In my primary care setting, where we have limited time per patient visit and I am seeing patients with multiple and chronic illnesses, it is really a matter of time and practicality. With the few minutes I have with each patient, what is the one thing that I can do or say that will have the biggest impact on my patients’ reduction of morbidity and mortality?

Having a conversation about weight with the patient saves me time and involves the patient in taking charge of their health. Talking to a patient about their weight and their BMI are crucial components in helping them to “buy in” and become a key player on their own healthcare team.

For example, here’s a sample of patient BMI ranges that I observed over a two-day period: I saw 31 patients with BMIs ranging from a high of 67.5 to a low of 15.1 with ages ranging from 18 to 66. 21/31 had BMIs of 26 (approximately 66 percent) or greater. Most of these patients were insured through the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid or Medicare.

My typical office visit goes something like this: My Medical Assistant brings the patient back into the exam room where vital signs are taken. Height and weight are entered into the electronic medical record at each visit and the BMI is automatically calculated. The patients see their vitals signs displayed before their eyes. When I enter the room, I briefly explain to the patient what they are seeing on the screen. For many patients this is a learning opportunity as I explain BMI and what the ranges mean. The majority of patients are curious. They want to know where they fall, how close they are to normal, etc. I then take a few minutes to explain that losing as little as 5-10 percent of their baseline weight can lead to exponential improvements in their health and quality of life. This is especially motivating for my patients who are:

1) Suffering from multiple comorbidities such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and joint pain;
2) Tired of taking multiple medications and or being insulin dependent;
3) Tired of looking older than their chronological age;
4) Tired of being depressed;
5) Feeling like they are a victim and want to have a sense of something that they can do to contribute to their well-being.

I bring my patients back for more frequent office visits, generally every week to two weeks for an initial period of 12-16 weeks to provide the added support and accountability needed to support a patient on a weight loss journey. I have also familiarized myself with the current anti-obesity medications available and prescribe them for the appropriate patient, along with eating behavior modification and exercise prescriptions.

The other day a patient of mine returned for a weight check, delighted with another few pounds of weight loss. She exclaimed that her cardiologist stopped one of her anti-hypertensive medications, and she was smiling broadly — her dental hygienist told her earlier in the day that she looked like she was losing weight and looked good. She was near tears. She stated that her stress incontinence had improved so much that she was thinking about trying a beginner’s yoga class. This kind of success story has become an everyday part of my daily experience as a physician — and my own joy and satisfaction is priceless.



1."The Epidemiology and Determinants of Obesity in Developed and Developing Countries." http://econtent.hogrefe.com. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, 14 Mar. 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.


Blog written by Carol Penn, D.O.



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