Weight of the Nation: A Challenge for Primary Care

Weight of the Nation: A Challenge for Primary Care

Posted by Katherine Ellington on May 13, 2012 10:41 pm

The four-part HBO documentary "The Weight of the Nation" will air on Monday and Tuesday evenings at 8:00 p.m. EST. The series will also be available online at HBO for later viewing at your convenience.  Why watch?  Obesity has become an unaddressed epidemic by primary care, public health, and health care on large scale, until now.  The momentum may help us rise (if you watch while standing up you'll burn some calories too, according to Phys Ed columnist for The New York Times Well blog, author of The First Twenty Minutes) to work for successful strategies in the future. 

On the lighter side, listen to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins on The Colbert Report talking about obesity and his own weight loss story.

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Francis Collins
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Dr. Danielle Ofri offers "An Endless Quest for Weight Loss Pills" on the New York Times Well Blog from among her doctor-patient encounters. Her story begins, "right after residency, I took a summer job in a family practice in a beach town...One day, a woman in her early 40s came for an appointment. She asked me to prescribe..."

Additional details are at theweightofthenation.hbo.com and follow the @weightofthenation and #weightofthenation #wotn hashtags

Let's start conversation here too.   Here are my questions: How much nutrition did you learn in medical school and/or during residency training? How much time do you (or by referral) spend talking with patients about diet and exercise. Do you track their progress? Is there follow-up?

Re: Weight of the Nation: A Challenge for Primary Care

Posted by Brian Schon on May 21, 2012 11:13 am

Katherine, thanks so much for raising this issue, it really is one of the most pressing issues facing American health care. Obesity creates such complexity in issues around health care both in terms of the body (diabetes, heart failure, etc.) but also in terms of policy issues around how to help keep people healthy. Unfortunately, even in policy schools this issue is woefully under-discussed. Not only do we miss important issues like nutrition education, but also incredible social truths: in lower-income areas, access to junk food and fast food is far higher and access to farm fresh produce and grocery stores is much lower.

Some programs should be lauded though- Shape Up Somerville, a program in Somerville, MA has been incredibly successful at increasing daily physical activity and educating about nutrition. Other programs have promoted healthier school lunches, and yet others have actually formed partnerships between payers and physicians to offer patients vouchers for shopping at farmers markets.

Obesity really is an epidemic and needs to be addressed. We need more champions on this issue, people like Michelle Obama and Dr. Collins, who can push this issue into the public discourse.
Brian Schon, MPP, MBA Director of Policy and Strategy Primary Care Progress p: 617.714.4260 c: 617.835.5246 primarycareprogress.org
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