Today, two-thirds of U.S. adults
and nearly one in three
children struggle because they are overweight or have obesity. The
effects of the nation’s obesity epidemic are immense: taxpayers,
businesses, communities and individuals spend hundreds of billions of
each year due to obesity, including nearly $200 billion in medical
costs. Obesity is the reason that the current generation of youth is
predicted to live a shorter life than their parents. Much can be done
reverse the epidemic, yet important opportunities to tackle obesity at
national policy level -- including changes that enable more Americans to
healthy and be active, as well as those that provide appropriate medical
treatment for patients -- have gone largely unmet. The Campaign works
fill this gap. By bringing together leaders from across industry,
academia and public health with policymakers and their advisors, the
provides the information and guidance that decision-makers need to make
changes that will reverse one of the nation’s costliest and most
|As the New Congress Gets Back to Work, the Last Congress Scores a “C” in First-Ever Obesity Report Card|
Washington D.C. – The Campaign to End Obesity released its first-ever obesity report card, “Moving the Needle on Obesity: A Report Card for the 114th Congress,” which gave the 114th Congress a “C” for its work on policy to address the U.S. obesity epidemic.
The Report Card found most of the obesity-related work focused on proposals providing more health care infrastructure to prevent and treat obesity and a large number of measures supporting more physical activity. Additionally, it noted a growing effort on Capitol Hill to recognize and attack the U.S. obesity epidemic as a national economic challenge—some $315.8 billion each year is spent by taxpayers to treat obesity and obesity-related conditions.
The Report Card highlighted 29 members of the Senate and House—14 Republicans and 15 Democrats—who were “Top of the Class” for their work to move obesity prevention and treatment proposals during the 114th Congress.
Campaign Board Chairman Scott Goudeseune, who is also President and CEO of the American Council on Exercise, praised “growing interest in the prior Congress in addressing one of the largest public health crises facing our country.” Still, Goudeseune said, “There were missed opportunities that we hope the new Congress will take up. There is a lot of work ahead of us, and we hope to partner with Members in the 115th Congress—current and new champions alike—to advance meaningful policy solutions that can help lower obesity rates and promote vital long-term economic savings.”
The Report Card evaluated legislative action and four other factors: general progress of key measures; how much traction those measures got; whether the proposal’s policy content of would likely help prevent or treat obesity; and the preservation of important policy measures from prior Congresses.
To view the full Report Card, click here. For more information, please visit www.obesitycampaign.org.
|Scott Goudeseune, President and CEO of the American Council on Exercise, Appointed New Board Chairman|
Washington, D.C. - The Campaign to End Obesity (“the Campaign”) today announced that Scott Goudeseune, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Council on Exercise (ACE), has been appointed the new Chairman of the organization’s Board of Directors.
In announcing the Campaign's new leadership, outgoing Board chair Mark Schoeberl of the American Heart Association said, “Scott brings a wealth of experience in managing and growing nonprofit organizations and a vital perspective in particular on the role of physical activity in combating obesity. With obesity affecting one in three adults and one in five children in our country already, it's critically important that the Campaign continue to engage the best and the brightest leaders to promote policies that will move the needle on this epidemic. Scott is well equipped to this task."
Said Goudeseune added, “It is a great honor to have been given the opportunity to lead the Campaign. I have watched as the Campaign’s work and influence has grown over the years, and I am excited about building upon that platform to tackle the substantial amount of work ahead of us.”
The Campaign also announced that Jeffrey Poltawsky, Senior Vice President at the American Family Children’s Hospital at UW Health, has been appointed Vice Chair. Both Goudeseune and Poltawsky will serve one-year, renewable terms. The Board also named Ed Foster-Simeon, President and CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation, to another term as Treasurer.
About the Campaign to End Obesity
To help move the needle in the fight against obesity, the Campaign to End Obesity (“Campaign”) convenes leaders from across industry, academia, and public health to push for policy changes to address this epidemic. The Campaign provides the information and guidance necessary for decision-makers to advance policy changes designed to reverse one of the nation’s costliest diseases.
|To Do Better in School, Kids Should Exercise Their Bodies As Well As Their Brains, Experts Say|
The Los Angeles Times, 06.27.16
Attention parents: If you’d like to see your kids do better in school, have them close their books, set down their pencils and go outside to play. That’s the latest advice from an international group of experts who studied the value of exercise in school-age kids. “Physical activity before, during and after school promotes scholastic performance in children and youth,” according to a new consensus statement published Monday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
|Uncle Sam Wants You...Slimmer|
U.S. News & World Report, 06.30.16
Military personnel are expected to meet strict weight and body fat standards. But one in five U.S. military service members is obese, new research shows. "We count on our military to be in the best shape both physically and mentally, and these data show there is a need to improve efforts to maintain a healthy weight within our Armed Forces," said Catherine Champagne, a member of The Obesity Society's advocacy committee.
|New Research Into Preventing Obesity in Children by Starting in Infancy|
The Boston Globe, 07.25.16
It is one of the most pressing health problems of the next generation, yet clinicians have had little success stemming the tide of childhood obesity. Attempt after attempt to prevent excessive weight gain in children has failed, and that excess body fat raises a child’s immediate and long-term risk of debilitating conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and bone and joint problems.
|Personalized Weight-Loss Interventions Effective Among Obese, Sedentary Primary Care Patients|
A home-based, personalized intervention that included telephone counseling, individually tailored print materials, and DVDs, in addition to face-to-face meetings, was effective in promoting weight loss and increasing physical activity among primary care patients with obesity, according to data published in the Annals of Family Medicine.
|USDA Finalizes School Meal Rules, While House Republicans Work Furiously to Gut Them|
The USDA announced four final rules last week that will improve the health and wellbeing of children who eat meals that are part of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. Sadly, these rules and others that were finalized for the 2010 Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR), also known as the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), could soon be weakened if House Republicans get their way.
|Doctors Not Taught to Discuss Diet, Nutrition with Patients|
Chicago Tribune, 08.01.16
Good diet and nutrition can put you on a path to health and wellness, but it's unusual to find doctors who are trained well enough and can spend the time required to have this conversation with patients. In the United States, the traditional medical approach has been to focus on treatment rather than prevention of disease and illness. Jennifer Trilk, assistant professor in the department of biomedical science at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine at Greenville and a leader in the new lifestyle medicine movement, says that as we've developed more and more ways to intervene, most doctors are still more comfortable treating illnesses than addressing prevention.
|Lack of Exercise, Sedentary Behavior Cost the World 5 Million Lives and $67.5 Billion Every Year|
Tech Times, 07.28.16
Bad news for office workers or those who are explicitly lazy. A new study finds that physical inactivity accounts for 5 million deaths and $67.5 billion in expenses every year. A sedentary lifestyle, which includes sitting for more than eight hours a day, has been associated with the increased risks of developing certain health issues including diabetes, cancers and heart disease. But the good news is that simple activities, brisk walking for instance, can help reduce the perceived higher risks of early death.
|A New Formula for Exercise? Study Suggests 1 Hour of Activity Per 8 Hours of Sitting|
The Washington Post, 07.28.16
If you fear you're doing irreparable damage to your body because your white-collar job keeps you sitting at your desk from 9 to 5, or you regularly spend entire weekends sprawled out on your couch binge-watching Netflix, there's some good news just out from sports medicine researchers. According to a study published in The Lancet, all is not lost. You may be able to "make up" for your increased risk of death due to a sedentary lifestyle by engaging in enough physical activity.
|Spooked By Obesity Trends, the U.S. Military is Redefining Its Basic Fitness Standards|
Military Times, 08.07.16
For the first time in 14 years, the military is rewriting its body composition standards and the methods used to determine whether troops are too fat to serve.
|Task Force Calls for More Study Into Risks, Benefits of Kids' Cholesterol Screening|
There's not enough evidence to determine the potential benefits or risks of screening for high cholesterol in children and teens without symptoms, signs or a known diagnosis, experts say. For that reason, no recommendation can be made for or against such screening, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) said in a statement released Aug. 9.
|Diet from Design: How City Planning Can Prevent Obesity|
The prevalence of obesity in developed nations is a well-documented phenomenon. But, perhaps surprisingly, obesity rates have also been rising in developing economies. Initiatives to curb obesity are plentiful, but a strategy based in the discipline of city planning merits particular attention, especially in rapidly developing environments where the most impact could be made.
|FDA Memo Urges Reset of Nutrition Goals|
It’s not enough for FDA to give consumers the information they need to make healthy choices; the agency should go a step further and aim for its policies to actually result in healthier Americans, suggests an internal FDA memo obtained by POLITICO. The 98-page report — the culmination of a year-long assessment known as “The Nutrition Review Project”— offers a rare window into FDA’s thinking on hot-button issues, ranging from sodium to front-of-pack labeling. FDA leaders argue in the memo that reorienting the agency’s nutrition work could save billions in health care costs — far more savings than the agency’s current push to overhaul food safety is projected to deliver.
|Researchers to Conduct Trial to See if Weight Loss Helps Keep Breast Cancer Away|
Houston Chronicle, 06.28.16
Should weight loss be prescribed as a treatment for breast cancer? Scientists are recruiting thousands of women for a large clinical trial to find out. The plan is to put heavy women age 18 and older who were recently given diagnoses of breast cancer on diets to see if losing weight will keep their cancer from returning. "We have been telling women to do this for years, but we don't really have definitive proof," said Dr. Jennifer Ligibel, the principal investigator of the Breast Cancer Weight Loss study.
|Active Medicine: How Children's Hospitals Support Weight Management|
U.S. News & World Report, 06.27.16
Born at 10 pounds and 13 ounces, Gigi Eisenstein of Philadelphia had been a robust baby. But when her weight was still outpacing her height at her 6-year check-up, the pediatrician referred her parents to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. There, in consultations every six weeks or so including a medical evaluation and dietary, behavioral and fitness counseling, the family has learned ways to prepare healthier meals together and squeeze more physical activity into their day. Now Gigi and her sister and parents sub baked zucchini sticks for French fries, eat seconds of vegetables only and walk the dog each night as a family. Gigi, 10, has seen her body mass index drop from 24 to 21. (Nineteen is ideal.) “I used to be the snack mom—I always had something for the girls to eat,” says Sarah Eisenstein, Gigi’s mom. “Now I tell them ‘I know you’re hungry, but you’ll be OK until we get home and make lunch.’ ”
|Neighborhoods Matter to Kids' Food Choices|
MedPage Today, 06.23.16
Children who went near places that sold junk food between home and school were more likely to end up purchasing that junk food, according to a new study that used global positioning system (GPS) technology to track kids' trips for 2 weeks.
|Weight Loss Surgery Helps Keep Pounds off 10 Years Later|
Ten years after gastric-bypass weight-loss surgery, patients in a recent study had managed to keep off much of the weight they’d lost. Even more important, they also saw reductions in other medical problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, joint diseases and problems breathing while asleep, said Dr. J. Hunter Mehaffey.
|Primary Care Physicians Primed to Help Patients Be More Active|
Medical Xpress, 06.21.16
Exercise plays a crucial role in being healthy and preventing disease. Because of their close relationship to patients, primary care physicians (PCPs) can act as a catalyst to help people be more active through physical activity counseling; however, doctors often encounter barriers to being able to properly address inactivity. A new paper from The American Journal of Medicine offers PCPs implementable strategies to break down those barriers and help their patients get more exercise.
|Diet Habits Improve Among U.S. Adults, But Wide Racial and Economic Gaps Remain|
Modern Healthcare, 06.21.16
Progress made over the past decade to improve the eating habits of U.S. adults has not narrowed racial and socioeconomic disparities, according to a new study. Surveys conducted between 1999 and 2012 of self-reported dietary habits of more than 33,000 adults ages 20 and older found the percentage of Americans with what would be deemed as a “poor” diet decreased from 56% to 46% over the study period while the number of those with “intermediate” diets increased from 44% to 53%. The number of adults who were found to have “ideal” diets also increased but slightly from 0.7% to 1.5%.
|Bipartisan Funding Bill Proposes Cuts to Programs Fighting Chronic Disease and Racial Health Gaps|
Modern Healthcare, 06.10.16
A bipartisan bill that increases funding for the National Institutes of Health and the battle against opioid abuse is considered a big step toward addressing some of the country's most pressing public health emergencies. But the bill also proposes cuts to a number of significant agencies and programs. The bill would cut $112 million from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, dropping it to $1.06 billion. The program, which provides support in tracking chronic diseases and their risk factors as well as offering help for patients to manage and prevent the onset of such conditions, has been key in reducing the rate of teen births and smoking.
|Dems Ready for Child Nutrition Combat|
Democrats are not mincing words when it comes to the GOP’s child nutrition bill, characterizing it as "stupid," "mean-spirited" and "mind-boggling" during an opposition rally on Capitol Hill Thursday. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi vowed to ensure the reauthorizing legislation (H.R. 5003) “never sees the light of day on the House floor.”
|Changing Economic Conditions Can Affect Children's Weight |
During economic slumps, children’s risk of becoming overweight or obese may rise with the unemployment rates in their communities, according to a recent study of California school children.
|Changes in Gut Microbiome Influence Risk for Obesity, Metabolic Disease|
Research on the microbiome continues to prove the age-old claim that “you are what you eat.” Countless studies suggest the trillions of tiny bugs that make their home in a person’s gut have some influence on nearly every aspect of health, especially the likelihood of becoming severely overweight and developing obesity-related conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. A new study published June 8 in Nature suggests altering the makeup of gut microbes could be an effective way to address weight and related problems. Though plenty of researchers have made this claim before, this is the first study to specifically identify the mechanism by which changes in a person’s gut microbes influences the likelihood for developing obesity and metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.
|America's Obesity Epidemic Hits a New High|
NBC News, 06.07.16
The U.S. obesity epidemic continues to worsen: The latest reports show that 40 percent of U.S. women are obese, and American teenagers are also continuing to put on weight. The two reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that efforts to encourage Americans to lose weight—at least to stop putting on more weight—are having little effect.
|Major Weight-Loss Cancer Trial Starting|
BBC News, 06.06.16
Researchers believe achieving a healthier weight could cut the risk by a fifth in breast cancer. Around 3,200 women will take part, with half of them shifting a tenth of their body weight. Experts said the trials were vital as it was still unclear if weight made a difference. Dr. Jennifer Ligibel, from the women's cancer centre at the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute, said: "We have known now for many years that women who are overweight or obese and are diagnosed with breast cancer have a higher risk of their cancer recurring and ultimately dying."
|Obesity is a Chronic Disease, Says New Guidelines|
MedPage Today, 05.27.16
Obesity is a chronic disease and should be treated as such, according to new evidence-based guidelines for treating obesity from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). The guidelines are a first for AACE. An executive summary was published in Endocrine Practice earlier this week, along with a graphic algorithm and a separate statement, and the full guidelines are expected later this year.
|Too Fat to Fight: Is the Obesity Crisis a National Security Risk?|
NBC News, 05.30.16
Marcus Williams is unemployed but says he really wants to join the U.S. Army. Right now though, it is just a dream. "I can't pass the physicals because the recruiters say I am too fat," says the 18-year-old resident of Detroit. "But I am working on it." Currently, he weighs 250 pounds and is 5 feet 10 inches tall. "They tell me that I am technically obese," he says of the Army recruiters.
|States with the Highest Obesity|
USA Today, 05.28.16
Obesity has been associated with some of the nation’s biggest killers — cancer, heart disease and diabetes. All have been closely linked to obesity. According to the National Cancer Institute, in some cases, obesity can cut a person’s lifespan more than smoking. The obesity epidemic afflicts every part of the country to some degree. At least one in five adults are obese in every state. In five states, at least one in three adults are obese.
|Severe Obesity May Boost Infection Risk After Heart Surgery|
U.S. News & World Report, 06.01.16
Severely obese people may have a higher risk of certain complications after heart bypass surgery than normal-weight patients, a new study suggests. The researchers found that severe obesity was linked to much higher odds of developing an infection soon after heart bypass surgery. And severely obese patients were also more likely to have longer hospital stays than normal-weight patients.
|Weight-Loss Surgery may Boost Survival|
Weight-loss surgery might significantly lower obese people's risk of premature death, a new study finds. About five years after surgery, the death rate was just over 1 percent for those who had weight-loss surgery and 4 percent among those in the non-surgery group, researchers said. For the study, the researchers -- led by Christina Persson from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden -- reviewed data from almost 49,000 obese people in Sweden. They were between 18 and 74 years old.
|Yes, America's Obesity Rates are Still (Slowly) Rising|
If recent headlines are to be believed, we are rapidly approaching the future depicted in Wall-E, with a morbidly obese population that can get from place to place only with the help of a hover-scooter. “Americans are fatter than ever, CDC finds,” trumpets CNN. “This Many Americans Need To Go On A Diet ASAP, According To New CDC Report,” content farm Elite Daily smugly proclaims. But is it really that cut-and-dried? The report both articles refer to is succinctly titled “Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data from the National Health Interview Survey, 2015.” It was released on Tuesday, and it provides an early look at annual data from the titular survey on 15 different points, from health insurance and flu shots to smoking rates and, yes, obesity.
|AACE Presents Clinical Practice Guidelines for Treating Obesity|
American Journal of Managed Care, 05.25.16
The world’s largest professional group of endocrinologists today issued clinical guidelines for treating obesity, standards that focus not simply on losing weight but on improving health and quality of life for those who live with the disease. Guidelines issued by the 7000-member American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) reflect the increased understanding of the “multidimensional pathophysiology of obesity,” with genetic, environmental, and behavioral components. “Adipose tissue itself is an endocrine organ, which can become dysfunctional in obesity and contribute to systemic metabolic disease,” the AACE authors note in their introduction.
|Consider Obesity Surgery More Often for Diabetes: Guidelines|
New guidelines say weight-loss surgery should become a more routine treatment option for diabetes, even for some patients who are mildly obese. Obesity and Type 2 diabetes are a deadly pair, and numerous studies show stomach-shrinking operations can dramatically improve diabetes. But Tuesday’s guidelines mark the first time the surgery is recommended specifically as a diabetes treatment rather than as obesity treatment with a side benefit, and expand the eligible candidates.
|Walkable Neighborhoods Cut Obesity and Diabetes Rates|
The New York Times, 05.24.16
Neighborhoods designed for walking may decrease the rates of being overweight or obese and having diabetes by more than 10 percent, a new study concludes.
|Dems Call for Changes to Child Nutrition Bill|
The Hill, 05.16.16
House Democrats are pushing for changes to legislation they claim will weaken the first lady’s prized school lunch standards and make it more difficult for low-income and minority children to access meal programs. In a letter led by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), 111 Democrats asked House Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) and ranking member Bobby Scott (D-Va.) to strengthen proposed legislation to reauthorize the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act that they say now includes “misguided changes.”
|FDA Approves New Nutrition Panel That Highlights Sugar Levels|
The Wall Street Journal, 05.20.16
U.S. food regulators said they approved the most radical overhaul of nutrition policy in decades, putting sugar squarely in its crosshairs. Potentially changing how Americans eat and drink, a new nutrition facts panel that appears on the back of all packaged food and beverages will list how many grams of sugar have been added by manufacturers and what percentage of the recommended daily maximum that represents.
|The States with the Fastest Growing Obesity Problem|
The Fiscal Times, 05.19.16
American might be the land of the free, but it’s also the land of love handles, beer guts and thunder thighs. According to the latest research, Americans are heavier than ever. The national obesity rate hit an all-time high of 28 percent in 2015, up from 25.5 percent in 2008.
|Is the Cure for Obesity Written in Our Genes?|
Nancy Gallo, 48, had been battling her weight since high school and consistently failing well-proven diet plans such as Weight Watchers. Then her employer offered help from an unexpected source: her own genetic code. Gallo is a senior consultant for insurance giant Aetna AET -1.15%, which in 2014 began pilot testing a program that combines genetic testing with coaching to develop highly personalized weight-loss programs.
|Can Building Design Make You Healthy|
The San Diego Union-Tribune, 05.14.16
After decades of building car-centric suburbs, developers now realize they may be partly responsible for a rising tide of obesity. Now, led by the Urban Land Institute think tank in Washington, D.C., they’re pivoting to “healthy places” where walkability, parks, community gardens and public transit can reverse the trends.
|Perceiving Children's Obesity|
The Boston Globe, 04.09.16
Pediatricians can now predict the risk of severe obesity in early childhood when a child is as young as 6 months old. But as a child grows, how well do parents recognize if their kid is becoming obese? Not very, according to a new study in the journal Obesity. If a child is overweight or obese, the vast majority of parents underestimate their child’s weight status. In fact, parents are far more accurate at perceiving their own obesity than that of their children.
|Weight Loss Surgery Boosts Good Cholesterol in Obese Teens and Could Help Prevent Heart Disease Down the Road|
Medical Daily, 05.05.16
Obese teens are increasingly resorting to surgery to achieve the weight loss results they need. A team of researchers from the University of Cincinnati collaborated with local hospitals to study how weight loss surgery affected heart health in a small group of obese teen boys. The findings, presented at the American Heart Association’s 2016 Scientific Sessions, reveal how undergoing surgery during teenage years may be the trick to preventing heart damage as adults.
|A Widely Held Belief about Childhood Obesity that Simply Isn't True|
The Washington Post, 05.02.16
In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a promising report about American children. For decades, the collective waistline of this country's youths had only seemed to expand—between the late 1960s and early 2000s, the obesity rate among 6- to 11-year-olds quadrupled, while the rate for 12- to 19-year-olds more than tripled. Even among the youngest children, those ages 2 to 5, the rate had risen alarmingly fast—tripling. But finally things were changing.
|Dietitian on Aisle Four: Grocery Stores are Calling in Health Experts|
The Chicago Tribune, 04.29.16
“Has anyone tried quinoa before?" No hands went up. "We'll try some today," said Allison Parker, a dietitian employed by Mariano's, to a group of eight mothers with young children on a tour of the Evergreen Park location. Parker is one of a growing number of registered dietitians who ply their trade in grocery stores instead of health care settings. As consumers have turned toward food they consider healthier and more sustainable, food companies have followed suit by marketing to popular diet trends and shifting preferences.
|Let's Stand with Retired Military Leaders to Get Healthy School Meals Over the Finish Line (OPINION)|
The Hill, 05.4.16
The following op-ed was co-written by former House Majority Leader William Frist, MD and former Senator Tom Daschle: While headlines harp that the U.S. is a nation “hopelessly divided,” there is something lawmakers can band together on: forging a solution to our obesity epidemic. In addition to being one of the greatest health threats our nation has ever faced, it is a terrible burden for employers, who are forced to spend more than $73 billion in costs associated with overweight-related medical and lost productivity costs every year. Obesity also threatens national security, as the leading medical reason why 71 percent of young adults between the ages of 17 and 24 cannot qualify for military service.
|Five Things Businesses Can Do To Fight Obesity |
Bloomberg News, 04.14.16
Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, putting them at increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. It’s a public health problem too big for the public health system to solve. Increasingly, businesses are asking what they can do to fight obesity among their employees, customers, and communities. It was the subject of an April 12 meeting at the National Academy of Sciences. After all, employers pay for obesity in their health-care costs, so they should have some incentive to figure out solutions.
|Why Have Healthcare Companies and Physicians Failed to Solve the Obesity Epidemic|
Medcity News, 04.13.16
For decades, individuals struggling with weight have been told to eat a healthy diet and exercise, and the pounds will come off. But the truth is that both companies and doctors are failing at helping people actually achieve weight loss. The numbers don’t lie. We’re not making a dent in our overweight population and, what’s worse, obesity has more than doubled between 1980 and 2015, with now nearly two billion overweight or obese living around the world.
|Insurers Take on Obesity Prevention|
Healthcare Dive, 04.13.16
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of adults and around 17% of children and adolescents in the U.S. are obese. It’s well known preventing obesity can ultimately save the healthcare system millions of dollars, but is there any financial payback for insurers? Dr. David Ludwig, director of the new Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Children’s Hospital, Boston, thinks not. He told Kaiser Health News that there’s no real incentive for payers to cover better obesity prevention and treatment because the costs are immediate and the benefits are long-term. According to Ludwig “it doesn’t make a lot of sense for individual plans when families change policies every three to five years.”
|Fat? Your Doctor Can't Help|
U.S. News & World Report, 04.12.16
When doctors diagnose health problems in patients, they tend to offer solutions: antibiotics for an infection, surgery to remove a tumor, insulin for diabetes. But for the most part that doesn't happen when the diagnosis is obesity. While doctors are getting better at informing their patients when their body mass index is too high, they often do not tell them how to lose weight, even though a range of options – including medication, gym memberships, a nutrition program like Weight Watchers, or referral to a weight-loss specialist or surgeon – are available. Many doctors report they don't have time to talk to patients about weight loss strategies, while others struggle with being overweight themselves and feel uncomfortable broaching the subject with a patient. Many doctors simply haven't been trained.
|Overcoming Stigma Essential For Improving Payer Coverage of Obesity |
American Journal of Managed Care, 04.09.16
Only 5% of patients with obesity who lose weight keep it off. Coverage for obesity drugs is improving, but remains uncommon. Only a tiny fraction of the candidates for bariatric surgery have the operation, in part because 70% of physicians won’t give referrals. All this leaves 93% of those who live with obesity with unmet medical needs, according to Janine V. Kyrillos, MD, an obesity specialist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Kyrillos led off Friday's session on the needs of those with obesity at Patient-Centered Diabetes Care, presented by The American Journal of Managed Care. Speakers and panelists explained how many patients with diabetes live with obesity as well, and while these are distinct diseases, their effects overlap. There’s a key difference, however. The stigma associated with obesity—the idea that patients “did this to themselves”—still pervades thinking among many physicians, insurers, and employers, despite the 2013 declaration by the American Medical Association that obesity is a disease.
|Obesity Surgery Linked to Reduced Pain, Improved Mobility|
Fox News Health, 04.06.16
Many severely obese patients have less pain and better mobility in the first few years after weight loss surgery, a U.S. study suggests. Researchers followed more than 2,200 obese patients who had weight loss surgery. After one year, 58 percent of them reported less pain and 77 percent said they had better physical function. By three years, the proportion of patients still reporting improvements in pain and physical function dropped significantly to 49 percent and 70 percent, respectively. Patients did, however, report consistent improvements in walking ability at one and three years, and those who started with knee and hip problems also reported lasting pain reductions and mobility increases around these joints.
|Obesity Rises at Unprecedented Pace Worldwide|
The Chicago Tribune, 04.01.16
The past 40 years have seen an unprecedented increase in the number of obese adults worldwide, climbing to about 640 million from 105 million in 1975. If the current trend continues, about one-fifth of adults will be obese by 2025. The rate has more than doubled for women and tripled for men, according to a new analysis published in the Lancet. Under the present trajectory, the chance of meeting a goal set by the World Health Organization to halt the increase over the next decade is, according to the study, "virtually zero."
|Grocery Stores Taking More Active Roles in Health Promotion|
Grocery stores, supermarkets and other large food retailers do not simply “store” food. They, in fact, can play major roles in what you choose to eat and drink. While this may not be new news to food marketers, health advocates have been increasingly recognizing this role and developing policies and interventions that target food retailers. With the obesity epidemic and other diet-related health problems bringing more attention to what you eat and drink, more and more grocery stores are finding that proactively establishing practices and programs that promote health may be good business.
|Obesity Survey Uncovers Striking Clinician “Knowledge Gap”|
Medscape (login required), 03.28.16
Two-thirds of US clinicians who replied to a new Medscape survey about treating obesity reported that they prescribe weight-loss drugs for about one in four obese patients, and they refer 13% of individuals for bariatric surgery. However, in a somewhat-troubling response, they also said that half of the patients who took weight-loss drugs did not meet their "treatment goals."
|Medicare Proposal Takes Aim at Diabetes|
The New York Times, 03.23.16
The Obama administration plans on Wednesday to propose expanding Medicare to cover programs to prevent diabetes among millions of people at high risk of developing the disease, marking the sixth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act with the prospect of a new benefit, federal officials said.
|Study: Heart Attack Patients Getting Younger, Fatterq|
CBS News, 03.24.16
Despite greater awareness of risk factors for heart disease and the need for healthy lifestyle changes, heart attack patients are becoming younger and more obese, according to new research from the Cleveland Clinic. The study, being presented at the American College of Cardiology's 65th Annual Scientific Session, also found that these patients were more likely to have preventable risk factors such high blood pressure and diabetes and were more likely to be smokers.
|Yale Study: Some Parents Underestimate Their Children's Weight|
Yale School of Medicine News, 03.22.16
A new article by two Yale researchers suggests some parents believe their children’s weight is lighter than it actually is, a misperception with important implications for clinical prevention and treatment of childhood obesity.
|Childhood Obesity a Rising Concern in the Military, Which is Now Turning to the Agriculture Industry for Help|
The Greeley Tribune, 03.19.16
When Juan Cardenas started in the Marine Corps junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Northridge High School, he wasn’t able to do a pull-up or a push-up. He used to wear a shirt that said, “I’m not fat, I’m fluffy.” That word—“Fluffy”—became his nickname around the junior ROTC hall. Last week, Juan, 16, stood in front of his junior ROTC class and gave a presentation about nutrition. He offered tips about how to read labels, what foods are the healthiest and how the body converts calories to energy. Some of the information he presented was new even to his instructor, Maj. Stephen Kintzley.
|School Breakfast Programs Vital, Even if Some Kids Also Eat at Home|
Students who eat two breakfasts are less likely to become overweight or obese than those who skip the morning meal, according to a new study. "When it comes to the relationship between school breakfast and body weight, our study suggests that two breakfasts are better than none," Marlene Schwartz, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut, said in a university news release.
|Growing up in poor neighborhoods may increase risk for obesity|
Growing up in poor neighborhoods increases the risk for obesity, with the pattern stronger among young women, according to a recent study. Researchers at the University of Colorado found consistently living in low-income neighborhoods puts young people at higher risk for becoming or remaining obese, and even moving to a poorer neighborhood increases the risk. Conversely, moving out of low-income neighborhoods can decrease the risk of obesity.
|Study Questions Impact of NYC Students' Weight Report Cards|
The New York Times, 03.14.16
When New York City public schools began giving students report cards on their weight a decade ago, officials hoped the information would help fight an obesity epidemic in the nation's largest school system. But a new study finds being labeled fat doesn't spur weight loss, at least among students near the threshold for being flagged.
|Obesity In America: As Healthcare Costs Rise, Hospitals Weigh New Ways Of Caring For Larger Patients|
The International Business Times, 03.06.16
In the United States, where two-thirds of adults are classified as overweight or obese, larger patients are increasingly the norm, and the healthcare industry has evolved in many ways to accommodate them, from developing sturdier medical equipment to building heavier-duty hospital beds. The sector has been much slower, however, to tackle other, subtler ways obesity weighs on the healthcare system, such as the tolls of physically handling larger patients, despite the vast medical and financial benefits of doing so, nurses and other medical experts say.
|Report Says Obesity is Taking Toll on Nation's Health|
WTOP News, 03.02.16
More than one-third of Americans are obese, and new data from the Centers for Disease Control Prevention underscores the toll it’s taking on the nation’s health. The CDC says there were 11 million doctors’ visits in 2012 for obesity-related health problems. Women had a significantly higher visit rate than men, and patients over 40 had a higher rate than younger adults.
|Eating Right for National Nutrition Month: Can You Make Healthy Choices|
The Chicago Tribune, 03.02.16
March is National Nutrition Month, an annual effort by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to help Americans eat more healthfully. The theme for this year’s campaign is “Savor the flavor of eating right.” But eating right depends on you and your lifestyle, for as the academy points out on its website: “There's no one diet that is right for everyone.”
|Cheaper Healthy Food Could Save Millions of Lives: Study|
Yahoo News, 03.01.16
Scientists have been telling Americans about the benefits of healthy eating for decades, and yet more Americans are obese than ever -- more than a third of the country. Now, researchers at Harvard and Tufts Universities have laid out concrete steps officials can take by linking food prices to health effects.
|Senior Advocates Fight Medicare Ban on Weight Loss Drugs|
ABC News (Local), 02.28.16
A senior advocate group is doing battle in Washington, for millions of Medicare recipients fighting obesity. The Gerontological Society of America wants to reverse a 2003 Medicare regulation banning payment for prescription weight loss drugs. With two-thirds of Americans overweight or obese, the group says it's time for change. "86% of the cost of healthcare, which is about 3 trillion dollars, is because of chronic diseases, and what drives chronic illnesses? Obesity. So let's address the problem," says former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, ad advocate with the Gerontological Society.
|Smoking v. Obesity: The Economics of Prevention and Its Dependence on Treatment|
Health Affairs, 02.22.16
In 2012, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an in-depth study of the health and budgetary effects of raising the excise tax on cigarettes. We commented on this study in our blog about the complex economics of disease prevention and longevity. CBO has since turned its attention to obesity and recently released a list of issues needing resolution in order for CBO to estimate the effects of federal policies impacting obesity.
|Small Weight Loss Yields Large Rewards, Study Finds|
U.S. News & World Report, 02.22.16
Shedding just a few pounds can lower the risk of serious health problems in obese adults, a small study suggests. Researchers looked at 40 obese people who lost 5 percent, 10 percent and 15 percent of their weight. The study, published Feb. 22 in the journal Cell Metabolism, found that 5 percent weight loss was enough to reduce multiple risk factors for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
|Doctors, Patients Seek Weight-Loss Surgery Coverage for State Workers|
The LaCrosse Tribune, 02.21.16
As Wisconsin considers self-insuring state employees, some want officials to take another step that could save money: covering weight-loss surgery for state workers who are severely obese. Forty states pay for the surgery for state workers who qualify, five states are experimenting with coverage and four states provide no coverage, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
|Health Buzz: Child and Teen Obesity Quickly Raises Blood Pressure|
U.S. News & World Report, 02.19.16
It doesn't take long for kids to gain enough weight to boost their blood pressure too high, according to a large study published online Friday in the journal Pediatrics. With nearly one-third of U.S. kids either obese or overweight, the new findings have health implications for children, parents and pediatric health providers nationwide.
|Overweight, Obese Kids Fare Worse in Hospital ICUs, Study Finds|
U.S. News & World Report, 02.16.16
Overweight or obese children may be up to 57 percent more likely to die in a pediatric intensive care unit (ICU), a new study indicates. "With increasing weight, there was an increasing risk of death," said study author Dr. Patrick Ross, a critical care specialist with Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
|USDA Rules Would Increase Access to Healthy Foods|
The New York Times, 02.16.16
The Agriculture Department unveiled new rules on Tuesday that would force retailers who accept food stamps to stock a wider variety of healthy foods or face the loss of business as consumers shop elsewhere. The proposed rules are designed to ensure that the more than 46 million Americans who use food stamps have better access to healthy foods although they don't dictate what people buy or eat. A person using food stamp dollars could still purchase as much junk food as they wanted, but they would at least have more options in the store to buy fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats and bread.
|Rx for Obesity|
Long-Term Living Magazine, 02.15.16
Obesity is gaining legitimacy as a health epidemic, and seniors are one of the most at-risk groups. Reduced mobility, lack of exercise and multiple chronic conditions spur tendencies toward weight gain. Obesity, in turn, aggravates other medical conditions—creating an endless circle of weight management challenges.
|In Pregnancy, Eating Too Much Fish Can Raise a Child's Obesity Risk, Study Says|
The Los Angeles Times, 02.15.16
Newborns whose mothers ate fish more than three times a week during pregnancy grew faster in their first two years of life and were more likely to be overweight or obese at 4 and 6 years old than were babies born to mothers who ate little to no fish during pregnancy, a new study says.
|House Passes Bill to Roll Back Menu Labeling Rule|
The Hill, 02.12.16
The House passed legislation on Friday to weaken an Obama administration regulation to require nutrition information on restaurant menus. Thirty-three Democrats joined with all but one Republican to support the measure in the 266-144 vote. Libertarian Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) was the only Republican to vote "no," while Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) voted “present.”
|Equipment Needed to Help Schools Serve Healthier Meals, Strengthen Child Nutrition|
The Huffington Post, 02.11.16
Over the past seven years, we've made great progress to improve child nutrition. Obesity rates have fallen and the bipartisan work of Congress has helped move the needle on child nutrition legislation. Since 2009, USDA has awarded $215 million in school nutrition equipment grants; however, the simple need for up-to-date equipment and adequate appliances is still one of the biggest obstacles to providing quality nutrition to kids in schools across the country.
|Is More Physical Education in Schools Linked to Higher Student Math Scores|
The Washi, 02.09.16
The amount of time students spend doing physical activity in school appears to be linked to higher standardized math scores in D.C. schools, according to a new American University study that examined the success of the city’s Healthy Schools Act and found that schools offering more physical activity had significantly better math success.
|American Teenagers are Eating Better: Study|
Lately, the news about children and obesity hasn’t been good. That’s because the numbers have been trending in the wrong direction; for years, obesity rates have inched upward, and while they haven’t yet started to drop, they have begun to plateau. But other signs of health trouble, including diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, are also on the rise.
|Obama's Plan to Give Free Lunches to Millions More Kids|
The Washington Post, 01.27.16
The Obama administration will announce new plans Wednesday to launch a pilot program aimed at increasing poor children's access to food through the National School Lunch Program. The pilot program will allow participating states to use Medicaid data to automatically certify students for free and reduced-price school lunches. Currently, families have to submit an application — a laborious process for parents and a costly one for schools — even when they have already proven that they are income-eligible through their participation in other government assistance programs.
|Finally, More Doctors are Specializing in Obesity Treatment|
At long last, more full-fledged doctors who actually specialize in obesity treatment are arriving. For years, the medical profession has been churning out doctors super specializing in areas that exceeded demand (for example, how many radiologists do we really need?) and at the same time neglecting areas that have real need…such as obesity treatment. Last I checked, an obesity epidemic has been gripping the world, but there’s been no similar epidemic of X-rays that need to be read. If you don’t know already, obesity is a major problem, resulting in many different physical, psychological, social and economic problems, including chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, lost productivity for businesses, and soaring healthcare costs. Based on television shows such as The Biggest Loser and myriad diet and exercise products and programs that blanket television, the internet and magazines, people are calling out for help to manage their weight and treat obesity. So (queue the song “Flight of the Valkyries”) last week, the still relatively new American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) certified more than 400 physicians as obesity medicine specialists.
|Ending Childhood Obesity is a Global Challenge|
Childhood obesity is no longer the preserve of wealthy nations. There are more overweight and obese children in the developing world, in terms of absolute numbers, and an upward trend is evident. In Africa alone, the number of overweight children under five years of age nearly doubled from 5.4 million to 10.3 million between 1990 and 2014. Current estimates of 41 million overweight and obese children under five globally represents only the tip of the iceberg—we do not yet have figures available for older children and adolescents. The situation is exacerbated if we factor in the number of children who are heading towards obesity but have not yet reached the standard cut-off.
|Glimmer of Hope for the Obesity Crisis?|
Acceptance of being overweight is greater today than in 2010 as Americans increasingly see themselves primarily responsible for their own weight, although belief in the role of genetic predisposition is significant and growing. A new report finds people are beginning to connect the dots between eating behaviors and personal health.
|Obama to Seek $12B From Congress for Child Nutrition|
ABC News, 01.27.16
President Barack Obama plans to ask Congress for $12 billion over a decade to help feed schoolchildren from low-income families during the summer, the White House said Wednesday. The request will be in the 2017 budget proposal Obama plans to send lawmakers on Feb. 9.
|Senate Panel Approves Bill to Make School Lunches Tastier|
Chicago Tribune, 01.20.16
School meals could become a bit tastier under legislation approved by a Senate committee. The measure approved by a voice vote Wednesday is designed to help schools that say the Obama administration's healthier meal rules are too restrictive.
|Supermarkets Nearby May Help Kids Lose Some Weight: Study|
U.S. News & World Report, 01.21.16
Maybe living close to a large supermarket can help obese children slim down, new research suggests. "Children enrolled in an obesity intervention program who lived closer to a supermarket decreased their body mass index (BMI) and increased their fruit and vegetable intake," said Dr. Lauren Fiechtner, study lead author and director of nutrition at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston.
|Excess Weight Leads to Blood Clot Risk in Kids|
U.S. News & World Report, 01.21.16
Obese children and teens may have an increased risk for blood clots in their veins, called venous thromboembolism (VTE), a new study suggests.
|Strong Majority of Americans Support Strengthening Medicare Law to Require Coverage of Obesity Programs|
Business Wire, 01.21.16
More than two years after the American Medical Association declared obesity a disease, a strong majority of Americans believe Congress should approve legislation to require Medicare to cover FDA-approved medicines to treat obesity. Seventy-one percent of Americans believe Medicare should invest in programs to reduce the rate of obesity, according to a national Ipsos poll commissioned by The Gerontological Society of America.
|The Battle Plan to Fight Diabetes and Obesity|
Health Affairs, 01.13.16
From time to time, most strategic grant-making organizations review their programmatic priorities, assessing the needs and opportunities in a given area and figuring out what role a foundation could play in it. When the New York State Health Foundation’s (NYSHealth’s) board and staff began reviewing its strategic priorities in 2014, we grappled with how we could have the most impact given our modest resources. (Our annual grants and operations budget is approximately $15 million—a modest sum in a state expected, by 2020, to spend more than $300 billion annually on health care!)
|Weight-Loss Surgery May Reduce Depression in Some Patients, Study Suggests|
The L.A. Times, 01.12.16
fOR some severely obese patients, a new study hints that bariatric surgery might potentially do good for both body and mind. Patients seeking and undergoing such weight-loss procedures were more likely to suffer from depression and binge-eating than the general population -- but those with depression often saw their mental health improve after surgery, a new UCLA-led paper shows.
|How Urban Planning Can Influence Obesity Rates|
The Atlantic, 01.12.16
There are so many causes of obesity—poverty, social and emotional factors, lack of sleep, genetics—that it becomes difficult to sift through them all. But the relationship between cities and obesity is perhaps even more complicated. On the one hand, city residents are frequently exposed to pollution, and may lack access to public spaces like parks and recreational facilities. On the other hand, cities tend to be more walkable than sprawling suburban areas, and therefore encourage a more active lifestyle.
|Lack of Play Spaces for Latino Kids Increases Obesity Risk|
NBC News, 01.12.16
Obesity rates in Latino youth are higher compared to their non-Latino white counterparts and it may not only depend on food options. Salud America!, an organization that advocates for childhood obesity prevention, has found a correlation between obesity rates and availability of recreational areas in communities.
|Government Revises Dietary Guidelines: Go Ahead and Have Some Eggs|
The Washington Post, 01.07.16
The federal government on Thursday told Americans not to worry so much about cholesterol in their diets, that lots of coffee is fine and that skipping breakfast is no longer considered a health hazard.
|UW Study: Students Choosing Healthier Food Under New Standards|
The Seattle Times, 01.06.16
Nutrition standards aimed at making school meals healthier appear to be working, at least in one area district, with students choosing more nutritious food and buying school meals at the same rate they did before the standards went into effect nearly four years ago, according to a new study by the University of Washington’s School of Public Health.
|Even if You Lose Weight, Obesity May Still Impact Your Health|
Huffington Post, 01.06.16
People who have been overweight or obese at any time during their lives may be more likely to die early, even if they lose weight later, a new study suggests.
|Omnibus Calls for Probe of Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee|
The Hill, 12.16.15
The year-end government spending bill includes language that calls on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to conduct a “comprehensive review” within 30 days of the the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the federally appointed panel of nutritionists that helps draft them.
|Rising Obesity Rates Put Strain on Nursing Homes|
The New York Times, 12.14.15
RED BAY, Ala. — At 72, her gray hair closely shorn, her days occupied by sewing and television, Wanda Chism seems every bit a typical nursing home patient — but for her size.
|How Genetic Heritage Explains Obesity|
Boston Globe, 12.14.15
Your boss blames you for something that wasn’t your fault, so you grab a chocolate bar and a bag of chips to feel better. After years of repeating this pattern — getting upset and overeating — you develop obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, which put you at risk for forming a blood clot in one of your coronary arteries.
|One in Five U.S. Kids Has Unhealthy Cholesterol Levels: Study|
NBC News, 12.10.15
One in five Americans kids has unhealthy cholesterol levels, and more than 8 percent have the most worrisome high cholesterol levels, a new survey finds.
|Fathers May Pass Down More Than Just Genes, Study Suggests|
The New York Times, 12.3.15
In 2013, an obese man went to Hvidovre Hospital in Denmark to have his stomach stapled. All in all, it was ordinary bariatric surgery — with one big exception.
|Creating Oases in New York City's |
The Wall Street Journal, 12.2.15
When Sade Bennett started working in April at a small farm on the grounds of a New York City Housing Authority complex in Brooklyn, she had a GED, a 5-year-old son, and a desire to better her health and her community.
|Doctors Need More Training to Address Obesity|
Baltimore Sun, 12.2.15
Chances are someone close to you is obese or overweight; just look at the statistics. Worldwide, obesity has nearly doubled since 1980. Worldwide, more than 1.4 billion adults 20 and older are overweight, and of those, 500 million are obese. In the United States, more than two-thirds of adults and one-third of children ages 6 to 19 are overweight or obese. And obesity rates are higher in Baltimore than the national average: According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost 40 percent of Baltimoreans are overweight and almost 30 percent are obese.
|There Aren't Enough Specialists to Treat Our Growing Obesity Problem|
Huffington Post, 11.30.15
There are currently fewer than 6,000 endocrinologists in the U.S., according to a new analysis, confirming a health care shortage that's particularly distressing in light of this month's report that obesity rates are once again on the rise. A full 38 percent of U.S. adults are now considered to be obese, up from 32 percent of adults a decade ago, and another third are overweight.
|Obesity in Youth May Harm Health Later in Life, Even After Weight Loss|
A new study finds that even if overweight or obese young women slim down later on, obesity-linked damage to the heart may linger for decades. The research shows that even formerly overweight women remain at heightened risk for sudden cardiac death later in life.
|New Battlefield: Fighting Obesity in the Military|
Every Nov. 11, Americans use Veteran’s Day to remember and thank the brave men and women of our armed forces and their families for the sacrifices they have made in order to protect and serve our country. As we take a moment to celebrate their service, we should also be mindful of perhaps the greatest threat our current military forces face—a threat that jeopardizes our nation’s recruiting ability and risks the strength of our military: the U.S. obesity epidemic.
|Obesity Rises Despite All Efforts to Fight It, U.S. Health Officials Say|
Despite years of efforts to reduce obesity in America, including a major push by Michelle Obama, federal health officials reported Thursday that the share of Americans who were obese had not declined in recent years, and had edged up slightly.
|Women Overtake Men in U.S. Obesity Rates|
Obesity is still rising among American adults, despite more than a decade of public-awareness campaigns and other efforts to get people to watch their weight, and women have now overtaken men in the obese category, new government research shows.
|Obese Kids As Young As 8 May Have Heart Problems|
The health risks associated with extra weight are not news, of course, but scientists have a new concern among the youngest and the heaviest. Researchers at the American Heart Association annual meeting in Florida reported Tuesday that excess weight in children can lead to potentially harmful changes in the hearts of kids as young as 8.
|Most Obesity Care Not Covered By Insurers|
USA Today, 11.8.15
Obesity is a disease, but the U.S. health care system fails to treat it like one, say doctors who treat obesity.