American Heart: Zap the Gap Between Obesity Science and Care

MateriaWe are witnessing a conversion experience. With the publication of a new policy statement yesterday, the American Heart Association jumped in with both feet to call for closing the gap between obesity science and the typical care that people with obesity receive. Their statement says:

“Experts have learned a great deal about the causes of obesity and effective treatments for it. But that information isn’t always implemented in clinical settings. This may be hindering progress in reducing the rates of cardiovascular disease.”

A Welcome Commitment

In adopting this position, American Heart is adding a potent voice to longstanding calls for better access to obesity care. For decades, the Obesity Action Coalition has been toiling away at advocacy for access. CEO Joe Nadglowski welcomed the new commitment of AHA to this effort:

“American Heart has long supported prevention and our work to end discrimination. Now their joining our commitment to better access is something that genuinely thrills me. I have no doubt this will make a difference in the lives of the people we represent.”

Embracing Obesity Science

Obesity medicine physician Fatima Cody Stanford was an author of this new position. She praised AHA for this move:

“The American Heart Association has taken a wonderful leap forward, embracing the implementation of obesity science in this new statement. I’m thankful that we are no longer just talking about doing something, but actually doing something to change the practice of obesity medicine around the world.”

It was less than two years ago that AHA shifted its thinking from regarding obesity as a “health behavior.” Previously, not having a high BMI had the status of good behavior in Life’s Simple Seven. The association moved in 2022 to classify BMI the same as blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar – health metrics.

Coming close on the heels of that change, this is impressive progress.

Click here for AHA’s scientific statement in Circulation and here for their press release about it.

Materia, painting by Umberto Boccioni / WikiArt

Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, and policy.


May 21, 2024