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The Other Obesity-Related Disorder Physicians Should Be Talking About – And It’s Not Diabetes… (Free White Paper)




Overweight and obesity have long been associated with over 30 different chronic comorbid conditions. But some of these conditions are more readily talked about with providers than others. The impact of weight on Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Hypertension is pretty clear to both patients and physicians alike. 

But did you know that Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease affects one-third of American adults and is expected to be the most common reason for liver transplantation?

Fatty liver occurs when too much fat is stored in the liver cells. Over time, this extra fat can lead to inflammation and scarring, or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and putting the patient at highest risk for liver cirrhosis necessitating liver transplant.

The insidious thing about fatty liver is that it generally does not present any symptoms, so it is a condition that can go undiagnosed.  However, it is most often suspected when the liver enzymes are elevated on routine blood testing, but is generally definitely confirmed through liver biopsy.

What causes fatty liver isn’t definitely known, but is clearly associated with being overweight or obese. According to the Mayo Clinic, NAFLD affects an estimated 80 million to 100 million Americans, and 90 percent of the patients diagnosed with NASH (and are at high risk for cirrhosis) are either overweight or obese.

Because of the asymptomatic nature of fatty liver disease, physicians may be unknowingly taking preemptive measures to diagnose the disorder when they choose to address their patients’ weight through a medically supervised weight loss program. Robard’s program, for example, involves physician-reviewed medical protocols that require the patient to undergo ongoing medical supervision and blood work that can be helpful in identifying underlying conditions such as fatty liver. And even more good news – one of the most effective and least invasive methods of treating the disease has been found to be weight loss. So participation in a weight management program can help physicians simultaneously diagnose AND treat the disease. How’s that for efficiency?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of deaths from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis has risen every year since 2007, and with obesity also on the rise, we can count on those deaths to steadily increase -- unless physicians take a proactive approach.

"Weight loss works, whether through a bariatric procedure or a strict dietary approach," says Dr. Jay Horton, director, Center for Human Nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Even an eight percent to 10 percent weight loss seems to improve liver fat.”

If you are interested in learning more about fatty liver and the most efficient way to diagnose and treat it, download our free white paper, Liver Enzyme Abnormalities, by Dr. John D. Hernried of The Hernried Center for Medical Weight Loss. Then contact us to find out more about how we can help you get a program started that can help you provide the solutions your patients need to live healthier lives!

Sources: US News, CNBC

Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation


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Can’t Losing Weight Be Fun?



OK, we get it already! Being overweight has all these health risks… and two-thirds of people are overweight… and being overweight can complicate chronic conditions… and you have to lose weight NOW! Stop eating your favorite foods. Eat less. Workout, workout, workout…

Breathe.

This sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it? Of course, weight loss patients should be informed about the importance of weight loss to their health, as well as the lifestyle and diet changes that make weight loss possible. But does conversation about it always have to be so serious? Sometimes, a lighter approach is appropriate and helpful.

So why not talk to patients about how weight loss can be FUN?

Patients are already dealing with learning to say “no” to their favorite foods, and adopting activities that seem difficult and challenging, especially where exercise is concerned. Having a lighthearted tone and ensuring your patients that exercise can be fun — even relaxing or stress relieving — can help your patients approach weight loss with a positive mental attitude and a sense of excitement that can set them up for success.

Here are five suggestions for activities your patients can try this weekend that are both fun and burn a ton of calories:

1. Take a walking tour of your city. Get some fresh air and some great exercise by mapping out some interesting historic sites in your city and making it a half day walking activity with family or friends. Stopping to see sites provides for ample rest in between walking. Go at your own pace and make it an enjoyable outing, and don’t forget to bring water and healthy snacks!
2. Dance the night away. When was the last time you went to a club? Get dressed up, grab a friend, and treat yourself to a night out with some good music. If you do go to a club or bar, just watch the alcoholic beverages as they contain empty calories. Make it a sober, but fun night.
3. Become a dog walker. If you like animals, this is a great way to get some weekly exercise, snuggle dogs, and make a few extra bucks! There are actually dog walking apps such as Wag! where you can actually get paid to walk dogs. Or just do it as a favor for friends or neighbors. Walking is a great, low impact exercise, so why not make it fun by adding a cute dog to the picture?
4. Play a game. Did you know there are lots of video games that are designed to help you be active? If you want to get some exercise in the comfort of your own home, and you like video games, try a few rounds of “Dance, Dance Revolution” or “Wii Fit!”
5. Jump! Take a trip to a trampoline park or take an urban rebounding class. Trampoline exercise is another low impact activity that is easy on the joints but provides great cardio in a short period of time. You can even buy your own portable trampoline to use for exercising in your house. What better way to lose weight and feel like a kid again.

For even more ideas on fun ways to lose weight, download one of Robard’s Patient Education Exercise Modules. Our exercise modules are just one of the many complimentary resources that Robard offers our customers to make running a weight loss program easy. If you want to learn more about our complimentary services for weight management professionals, contact us today!


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation

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How Social Support Aids Weight Loss



Physicians are making great strides in learning how to effectively treat obesity despite the innumerable challenges that stand in the way of patients’ success. Overweight and obese patients sometime must face their own internalized stigma — but what happens when they leave their provider’s office? If a patient doesn’t have social support, their success can be derailed — and not just at the beginning stages of weight loss, but also when it comes to long-term maintenance.

Of course, having their physician’s support is crucial, as many patients are not familiar with the most effective and safe methods to lose weight. For those with a significant amount of weight to lose, a medically supervised diet may be the only successful way to get to a healthy weight (short of costly and sometimes invasive surgeries). It is usually the doctor’s role to provide the information, resources, and expertise necessary to make such a drastic health change happen. But recent studies are starting to show that positive (rather than instructive) social support appears beneficial in weight loss maintenance.

If you’re a health care provider seeing overweight patients who are reluctant to start a weight loss program, having trouble being compliant, or experience regain after successfully completing a program, you may need to assess whether or not a lack of social support is a factor.

Don’t be afraid to ask your patients directly about what kind of support they have (or don’t have) outside your office. Do they experience bullying or fat shaming in their workplace or community? Do they have family or friends who encourage them? Do they have family or friends that enable their bad eating habits?

As a provider, there may be some things you can do to fill these gaps to help your patients be more successful. Consider some of these strategies:

1. Do you have a psychologist, nutritionist, or health educator on staff?
Perhaps this person can start a weekly or monthly support group for weight loss patients, a “no judgement group” where patients can meet with other patients to vent, share successes and frustrations, and know they are not alone in the process. This can create wonderful morale that supports the weight loss journey. If you don’t have a staff member who can facilitate this, perhaps you can identify a patient or volunteer who would be willing to facilitate this kind of gathering.

2. Encourage your patients to buddy up. 
According to one study, participants who enrolled in a weight loss program with friends did a better job of keeping their weight off. In addition to teaming up with friends, these enrollees were given social support in addition to standard treatment. Two-thirds of those who enrolled with friends had kept their weight off six months after the meetings ended. In contrast, only a quarter of those who attended on their own had achieved that same success. Ask your patients if they have family or friends who are interested in losing weight too, and provide a referral incentive for getting them onboard. That’s a win-win for both of you because that also adds to your patient census!

3. Start an online community for your patients.
If you don’t have the time, money, or space to do a formal support group, social media provides us with great free alternatives. For example, you can create a secret, invitation-only Facebook group that allows patients to interact with and support each other, while still being a safe and confidential space. Have a staff member moderate the group to ensure ground rules are being followed, and incorporate it into your practice’s usual social media routine. Need some help with exploring the possibilities through social media? Download our free helpful guide of tips to learn how to effectively use social media for your weight loss program.

Sources: American Psychological Association, NCBI, Mayo Clinic


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation


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