Health News from Dr. Susanna Thomas• Obesity has been the #1 preventable cause of illness in the U.S for almost 10 years, overtaking smoking.

1 in every 3 adults, and 1 in 5 youths between the ages of 6 and 19 are obese.

It is directly linked to over 50 serious medical problems from diabetes and high blood pressure, to heart disease and many cancers.

Yet, most health insurance plans do not cover treatment for obesity itself, only the health complications arising from obesity. They will cover doctor or dietitian sessions for diabetes, even gastric bypass, but not cover the costs to prevent these tragic complications. This puts patients in a difficult financial position weighing the health of their checkbook against the health of their bodies.

What’s in a Name?

Recently, the American Medical Association has officially recognized obesity as a disease. (1) Although the A.M.A.’s decision has no legal authority, it is hoped it will be the beginning of improved treatment for obesity before serious health complications arise.

“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans,” – Dr. Patrice Harris, a member of A.M.A.

Click for a complete list of Obesity Health Risks

Cardiology:
Ischemic heart disease, angina, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism
Endocrinology:
Diabetes mellitus, polycystic ovarian syndrome, menstrual disorders, infertility, complications during pregnancy, birth defects, fetal death
Neurology:
Stroke, migraines, carpal tunnel syndrome, dementia, multiple sclerosis
Psychiatry:
Depression in women, social stigmatization
Rheumatology & Orthopedics:
Gout, poor mobility, osteoarthritis, joint and back pain
Dermatology:
Stretch marks, dark pigmentation in skin fold, lymphedema, cellulitis, increased facial hair, intertrigone
Gastrointestinal:
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, fatty liver disease, gallstones
Oncology:
Breast, ovarian, esophageal, colorectal, liver, pancreatic, gallbladder, stomach, endometrial, cervical, prostate, kidney, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma
Respirology:
Obstructive sleep apnea, obesity hypoventilation syndrome, asthma, increased complications during general anesthesia
Urology & Nephrology:
Erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence, chronic renal failure, low testoterone, buried penis.2

Employer Incentives – Cash for Weight?

Obesity is also becoming a costly problem for employers, causing more sick days, less productivity and higher insurance costs. Many companies are now offering financial incentives to their employees to lose weight.

In an article published by HealthDay News on April 2, 2013,(3) two company-sponsored weight-loss studies produced different results based on rewards and competition structure. In one study, Dr. Jeffrey Kullgren performed a study with 105 employees involving two types of incentive strategies, an individual approach where they were offered $100 for each much the met their weight-loss goals, and a group approach where the group of 5 were offered $500 to be split among the successful members.

It appears that offering an incentive and competition may increase weight-loss results. For those of you who do not have an employer incentive program, you may want to visit stickk.com. stickK began at Yale University when Dean Karlan, an Economics Professor at Yale, came up with the idea of opening an online ‘Commitment Store’. stickK is designed to promote a healthier lifestyle for you by allowing you to create Commitment Contracts that bind you into achieving a personal goal.(4)


Medical Weight Loss for Life Program

Our Medical Weight Loss for Life Program

The causes of obesity reflect both environmental and genetic conditions. Because the underlying factors are complex, careful clinical assessment is necessary to successfully manage the disease.  At Medical Weight Loss for Life, as trained medical providers we offer you a non-surgical comprehensive medical approach from initial evaluation to monitoring your progress.Call us at (860) 388-9920 or Email Us today for more information.


Sources:

(1) New York Times, June 18,2013, “A.M.A. Recognizes Obesity as a Disease”, Andrew Pollack, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/19/business/ama-recognizes-obesity-as-a-disease.html?_r=0

(2) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion”, http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/index.htm

(3) U.S News, April 2, 2013, “Competitive Cash-for-Weight-Loss Plans Work Best: Study”, Barbara Bronson Gray, http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/04/02/competitive-cash-for-weight-loss-plans-work-best-study

(4) StickK, About stickK.com, Website: http://www.stickk.com/

Information provided on this website and in the Doctor’s Blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Please consult your health care professional for evaluation of your individual case.

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