Obesity as a Diagnosed Illness


by Rachel Burt, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner at Roswell OB/GYN…………………………………

A recent decision by the American Medical Association recognized obesity as a diagnosable illness.  Previous obesity was just a description or symptom.  As a diagnosable illness, insurance providers may be more willing to cover costs of weight loss interventions.

In our practice, we see overweight and obese patients struggle with weight loss.  I am hard pressed to find an obese person who is happy with her weight. Many times these patients have tried multiple diets and exercise plans with minimal results.  Unfortunately, it is very rare than I see a patient who has achieved significant weight loss in a year’s time.

I have often thought about starting a weight loss program for our patients.  Talking with a patient once a year about weight loss at her annual visit does not make much of an impact. I think the accountability is so important.  Part of the success of weight watchers is making patients weigh in on a weekly basis at meetings.  When a patient is keeping a daily food and exercise diary, she sees better results than those who do not.  Hopefully, obesity as a diagnosis will encourage insurance providers to reimburse patients for weight loss programs.  With weight loss, we are reducing risks for diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and heart disease.  The investment in weight loss can only help reduce future healthcare costs.

If you have any questions, please contact your healthcare provider and schedule an appointment at 770 751 3600.

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