By Ted Kyle, RPh, MBA
We’re just one month away from National Obesity Care Week (NOCW)! It’s October 7th – 13th this year. But now is the time to make your plans and pledge to take ACTION to change the way we care about obesity. Here’s why:
Weight Bias is Blocking Progress
Weight stigma starts early and hits hard. It has devastating effects on health and quality of life at every age. Additionally, it leads to false assumptions about obesity’s root causes. It leads to policies that are grounded more in bias than in facts and science. Stigma and bias have had us spinning our wheels while obesity rates have grown relentlessly for four decades.
Healthcare Providers Need Support for Providing Care
Until now, most primary care providers have received very little training/support for delivering effective obesity care. Referrals to skilled providers are rare. Action must start to close this gap!
People with Obesity Need Supportive Healthcare Providers
The combination of stigma, limited training and poor access to care means that many people with obesity think it’s their fault. Then they think they must solve it on their own through sheer force of will. But that’s about as effective as asking a person to lower their own blood pressure.
People with Obesity Need Access to Care
Even when people clear the hurdles of stigma and find a skilled obesity care provider, they often find another barrier. Many health plans put up financial barriers to care. It might be absurdly high co-pays. Or maybe the health plan refuses to pay for any obesity care. This is ridiculous because untreated obesity progresses to cause complications like joint disease, heart disease and diabetes. And the bills mount up. Everyone – including health plans – loses.
Access to care for obesity should be the same as it is for treating any other chronic disease.
Policy Makers Must Invest in Obesity Research, Education, Prevention and Treatment
Research, education, prevention and treatment for obesity requires a sensible investment. The cost of neglecting this problem is mounting. Obesity rates are growing because we don’t yet know enough to prevent the disease. Untreated obesity is creating an epidemic of chronic diseases. Without an adequate investment, we will never reverse these devastating trends.
But together, we can work toward a future with adequate science-based care for obesity.
So, CLICK HERE to make your pledge now to take ACTION during National Obesity Care Week!
About the Author:
Ted Kyle, RPh, MBA, is a pharmacist and health marketing expert. He is also Treasurer of the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC). You can view his blog at: ConscienHealth.org.