The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has announced a new Medicare coverage policy that could make it easier for beneficiaries to receive weight loss treatment. Under the plan, anti-obesity interventions would be made available “if scientific and medical evidence demonstrate their effectiveness in improving . . . health outcomes.”
IDEA member Kim Ruby, a Los Angeles–based personal fitness trainer and yoga instructor, works with many overweight and obese clients who also have various health concerns. While some of her clients are referred by physicians and dietitians with whom she has built professional relationships, many learn about her by word of mouth, not through their doctors. Ruby has often been shocked at how few physicians recommend exercise as a preventive measure.
With so much news about the obesity epidemic plaguing today’s kids, researchers recently set out to discover if there has been an increase in the number of cases of metabolic syndrome in this population. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), metabolic syndrome is a constellation
of medical conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, that are thought to be caused by insulin resistance or glucose intolerance. The AHA estimates that approximately 20%–25% of American adults suffer from this condition.
Although short-term studies have shown that conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) can reduce body fat mass and increase lean mass, the long-term effects of this dietary supplement have not been researched. Now, a study published in the June issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004; 79 , 1118–25) has determined that CLA may have long-term effects on reducing body fat in overweight but otherwise healthy adults.
Do Americans know they’re fat? According to a recent Associated Press (AP) poll, many are in denial.
The poll, conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs between May 17 and 19,
included a representative sample of 1,000 adults nationwide. The AP asked for weight and height and used a government formula to determine if interviewees were overweight.
Six in 10 who qualified as overweight said they were at a healthy weight. Only one-quarter of those who were obese considered themselves very overweight, and just 12% said they were currently on diets.
Acknowledging obesity as a global epidemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed its Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health at the annual Health Assembly in Geneva.
According to a WHO press release, the new policy addresses
two of the major risk factors responsible for noncommunicable
diseases (NCDs), which now account for 60% of global deaths. NCDs include cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and obesity-related conditions.
Men and women handle being overweight very differently, according to the Simmons Market Research Bureau. The consumer research company polled 9,882 adults between January and
May 2003, capturing statistics on standard demographics, height and weight. The information appeared in the March 2004 issue of American Demographics.