The Surgeon General's Call To Action To Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity
Setting 3: Health Care
The health care system provides a powerful setting for interventions aimed at reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity and their consequences. A majority of Americans interact with the health care system at least once during any given year. Recommendations by pediatric and adult health care providers can be influential in patient dietary choices and physical activity patterns. In collaboration with schools and worksites, health care providers and institutions can reinforce the adoption and maintenance of healthy lifestyle behaviors. Health care providers also can serve as effective public policy advocates and further catalyze intervention efforts in the family and the community and in the media communications settings.
- Inform health care providers and administrators of the tremendous burden of overweight and obesity on the health care system in terms of mortality, morbidity, and cost.
- Inform and educate the health care community about the importance of healthy eating, consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and physical activity and fitness for the promotion of health.
- Educate health care providers and administrators to identify and reduce the barriers involving patients’ lack of access to effective nutrition and physical activity interventions.
- Inform and educate the health care community about assessment of weight status and the risk of inappropriate weight change.
- Educate health care providers on effective ways to promote and support breastfeeding.
- Train health care providers and health profession students in effective prevention and treatment techniques for overweight and obesity.
- Encourage partnerships between health care providers, schools, faith-based groups, and other community organizations in prevention efforts targeted at social and environmental causes of overweight and obesity.
- Establish a dialogue to consider classifying obesity as a disease category for reimbursement coding.
- Explore mechanisms that will partially or fully cover reimbursement or include as a member benefit health care services associated with weight management, including nutrition education and physical activity programs.
Research and Evaluation
- Develop effective preventive and therapeutic programs for obesity.
- Study the effect of weight reduction programs on health outcomes.
- Analyze the cost-effectiveness data on clinical obesity prevention and treatment efforts and conduct further research where the data are inconclusive.
- Promote research on the maintenance of weight loss.
- Promote research on breastfeeding and the prevention of obesity.
- Review and evaluate the reimbursement policies of public and private health insurance providers regarding overweight and obesity prevention and treatment efforts.
Last revised: January 11, 2007