With more than one-third of adult Americans suffering from obesity, authorities are having a hard time containing the issue. A government panel says that every adult should screen for obesity during regular check-ups.
The advice to screen for obesity has been issued since 2003, but as years went by and the rates of obesity spiked, government officials found themselves facing a major public health issue. A government panel has released new guidelines and made an urgent recommendation for obesity screening.
The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force has issued new guidelines regarding obesity, its prevention and treatment. Both doctors and patients have been urged to screen for obesity during regular check-ups as the health condition has been on the rise over the past few years. Doctors should screen patients’ Body Mass Index (BMI) and refer them to weight loss programs that include both nutrition and exercise, when necessary.
Although the recommendation might look like a no-brainer, it seems that not enough doctors are paying attention to their patients’ BMI. At the same time, most of those who do, only recommend a diet as a solution, instead of a full program based on fitness and help with nutrition.
Dr. David Grossman, task force member and Group Health Cooperative preventive care medical director, said patients “should be asking what their BMI is, and tracking that over time” even if it isn’t on the doctor’s agenda.
Moreover, Dr. Scott Kahan, member of the STOP Obesity Alliance, told CBS many doctors simply send people away when it comes to obesity problems. “They say, ‘Don’t come back to me and tell me your back hurts or you have acid reflux or high cholesterol until you will do something about it” said Kahan.
Susan Curry, also with the task force, emphasized that even modest “weight loss has tremendous health benefits”. “Losing 5 percent of your body weight has tremendous health benefits, and intensive behavioral counseling programs help you do that and sustain it” said Curry. “Your primary care provider can, we hope, help you to find evidence-based programs” added the expert.
According to Dr. Grossman a good program means face-to-face meetings 12 to 26 times a year, realistic weight-loss targets and an analysis of the reasons behind the patient’s obesity. A good program should also help patients adjust to the changes in their daily routine and give them practical solutions that keep track of their progress, such as a pedometer.