Obesity has been defined as a distinct disease by the World Health Organization, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Dietetic Association. In the United States, a major reimbursement challenge is to promote acceptance of obesity as a chronic disease and acceptance of its treatment by health management organizations, private insurers, and the government. The United States health care system is focused on treating individual obesity-related diseases, but does not treat obesity as the underlying cause. Reimbursement of obesity treatments using "condition coverage" based on the presence of other diseases does not allow obesity to be treated independently as a disease in itself. It is necessary to make major investments in research to determine the best methods and to match the treatment with the individual, to prevent obesity in vulnerable populations, and to develop more effective drugs and treatments for those already overweight or obese. There should be a more detailed analysis of the cost of obesity, costs associated with obesity and obesity-related disease treatment, and costs of inaction. The obesity epidemic is too large to be ignored. Health care professionals have a duty to be informed about the disease and to advocate for patients who need help. Registered dietitians can be key players in delivering obesity treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science