Take 5 for National Obesity Care Week
Now is the time to Take 5 – that’s five minutes for a productive, respectful conversation between a healthcare professional (HCP) and someone affected by obesity. This is the theme of National Obesity Care Week, which begins on Sunday.
Half of people affected by obesity say they have never been advised by a physician about maintaining a healthy weight.
One third of adults in the U.S. are currently affected by obesity, so a huge number of people with this chronic-disease that are not receiving necessary medical care.
Obesity has become the largest public health challenges for the 21st century. Given its serious complications — including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and even cancer — you would think that addressing obesity would be a top concern for all HCPs.
So why are HCPs not having conversations about obesity with their patients?
Evidence shows that many healthcare professionals find it can be difficult to talk about obesity with patients. Most have not even been trained to have discussions on weight and health. Too often, the current medical response to the obesity epidemic is clouded. It’s clouded by misunderstanding, bias, and stigma, prompting many patients to avoid seeking medical care for obesity entirely.
Conversely, while some HCPs do attempt to provide appropriate, well-intended advice, studies show it may be perceived as patronizing by patients.
Thirty-six national organizations are working to bridge this communication gap through National Obesity Care Week. It’s the only public awareness week dedicated to the disease of obesity. We aim to help HCPs better understand why and how to engage with patients to discuss their weight.
The new “Take 5” Challenge was developed by obesity specialists and encourages HCPs to take five minutes to learn more about obesity. “Take 5” provides resources to address obesity including key reasons to discuss weight; starter questions to engage in productive patient conversations; and ICD-10 codes and referral options for obesity specialists.
With the right tools and information to discuss weight, HCPs can start the conversation. And a respectful, helpful conversation can be the start of a successful weight management journey.
Obesity is a chronic disease and it’s time we started treating it like one. That starts with effective conversations between HCPs and patients about obesity care.
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October 27, 2016