With the holiday season quickly approaching, it is appropriate for patients, practitioners and other stakeholders to avoid holiday weight gain. This time of year, stretching from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, and sometimes expanded to include Halloween, includes indulgence in food and drink beyond recommendations for a balanced diet. Weight gain during the holidays is a common problem, although most American adults typically gain only around one pound.
Today, more than 93 million U.S. adults are living with obesity. Many do not consider obesity as a disease or that there are health professionals who can help them with weight-loss and maintenance. Having access to obesity care can lead to a more successful weight management journey, but many Americans lack insurance coverage to help them pay for these healthcare options. We believe that everyone should have access to obesity care that is not limited by a person’s weight or economic status.
SPECIAL EDITION: Leading expert and STOP Member Allison Sylvetsky, PhD, discusses the science of non-nutritive sweeteners and their role in obesity management.
The human skeletal system is an integrated framework of more than 200 bones and connective tissues that maintain body structure and facilitate movement. Over time, the joints that connect the bones in our skeletal system undergo wear and tear that limits their flexibility. Abnormal or excessive strain on the joints can lead to arthritis, an umbrella term used to characterize inflammatory diseases that affect one or more of the body’s 360+ joints and surrounding structures.
Over the past two decades, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) invested in two major multi-center studies aimed at obesity prevention in low-income Hispanic and African American children: the Childhood Obesity Prevention and Treatment Research Consortium (COPTR) and the Girls’ Health Enrichment Multisite Studies (GEMS).
Because the human liver filters toxins and redistributes nutrients, it is one of the most important and versatile organs in the human body. While a healthy liver composed of about 5% fat by mass can regenerate when damaged, the accumulation of excess hepatic (liver) fat can impair liver functioning and silently increase an individual’s risk for diabetes, heart disease, and premature death.
This February we are pleased to join the American Association for Cancer Research in supporting National Cancer Prevention Month. An estimated 1,762,450 new cancer cases will be diagnosed—more than 4,800 each day—and 606,880 cancer deaths will occur in the United States this year. Roughly half of these cancers will be attributable to preventable causes.
The global increase in obesity is a visible marker of serious systemic problems with contemporary food systems, living environments, and social equity.
As fiduciaries of both Medicaid and state employee health insurance programs, state governments bear a large portion of the direct and indirect costs of adult obesity. Reducing the burden of diseases associated with obesity is a goal of many state policymakers, but the resources devoted to achieving this goal—such as comprehensive coverage for evidence-based obesity treatments—are highly variable across jurisdictions and often inadequate.
Expanded coverage for conventional obesity treatment modalities—intensive lifestyle interventions, anti-obesity medications, and bariatric surgery—is a positive development for individuals with obesity. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to obesity management, and not all individuals find success with these standard treatments.
Obesity is often seen as a U.S. problem, but it has now moved well beyond US borders. Earlier this month, experts from around the globe shared international perspectives during a National Academy of Medicine workshop addressing the global obesity pandemic. The U.S. may be a leader in its focus on obesity treatment, but we lag behind many other nations when it comes to preventing the disease.
More than 93 million Americans currently have obesity, and obesity rates have doubled among adults in the last 20 years. It’s time to change the way we care about obesity. With obesity on the rise, our organization, alongside other organizations, must attack this disease from multiple angles and unite to overhaul the treatment of obesity. At the STOP Obesity Alliance, we recognize this challenge and the important role we can play.
Medical professionals are not minted overnight. Health professions grow and transform over decades, not months. While policies and strategies to address America’s chronic diseases shape the healthcare workforce, they are also shaped by it.