Thanks To The Affordable Care Act, Weight Loss Programs May Be The Key To Fighting America’s Obesity Problem

More than 68 percent of the overall population of the United States is considered obese or overweight. Weight loss surgery, along with other diet methods, can greatly assist in fighting obesity, yet many options have not been available to people due to cost and affordability. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was mandated by President Obama in 2010, many people may now have better options when it comes to losing weight and living healthier lifestyles.

According to ABC News, the ACA now requires insurance companies to cover obesity screening as well as nutrition services. These services not only include steady weight loss programs and surgery, but also include purchasing foods, gym memberships to work out, and dietary counseling.

A Westchester, New York woman, Nanette Blumberg, stated to ABC News, “I had a $20 deductible and that was nothing in compared to what I would have had to pay if I didn’t have insurance.”

Due to the ACA, Blumberg, a woman that has battled throughout her life to lose weight, has been able to lose over 30 pounds through diet and exercise that is now a covered weight loss program under her insurance plan. Thanks to her new coverage, her Body Mass Index (BMI) has also dropped to 27, which is considered as being just slightly overweight. This means that her risk of developing obesity-related illnesses has also dropped significantly.

Being obese can cause many health issues, ranging from heart disease and stroke to diabetes, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and even some types of cancer. Weight gain can cause high blood pressure as well as high cholesterol, both of which can increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. A person losing even 5 to ten percent of their overall body weight can greatly reduce the risk of heart disease and other medical issues related to being overweight.

There are twenty-three states in the United States that have current coverage for weight loss surgery, including gastric bypass surgery or bariatric surgery, and sixteen states offer dietary and nutrition coverage as well as coverage for some weight loss programs and dietary counseling.

According to the New York Times, those that need to use their insurance coverage for weight loss surgery and other weight loss programs do not have to be severely obese. As long as a person has a BMI that is over 30 or has a BMI of 27 along with other illnesses directly related to obesity, they can utilize the coverage for weight loss.

The American Medical Association has defined obesity as a disease and has stated that it is one of the largest health challenges in the U.S. Weight loss is not something that is simple to achieve, and many people have tried numerous fad diets and skimpy workout routines only to find themselves in no better shape than they started, even after they spent massive amounts of money on trends that just do not work.

Weight loss is something that takes many people years to achieve as they need to completely change their eating habits and lifestyles to achieve results. People want to lose weight but they often resort to the diets that promise people will shed weight fast. Unfortunately, for most, once the diet ends, the weight piles back on and in many cases, the person gains back more weight than they started with.

The ACA coverage will now allow people to find healthy alternatives to weight loss, but it also may provide a way for some of the trendy fads that have no proven track record for real weight loss to be covered, as well. While this may line the pockets of some unscrupulous people that want to line their pockets with easy money, it is something that the individual needs to ponder to see what is really best for them and for the weight loss they need to achieve for their overall health and well-being.

While weight loss surgery may be the crucial turning point for many, it may not be something for everyone. Often, a simple dietary change can help bring the results needed to weight loss. For others, incorporating a workout regimen into their lives will bring positive results.

Keep in mind that, although rapidly losing weight and finally fitting into those “skinny jeans” that have been folded in the back of the closet for the last five years makes the fad diets seem plausible, lifestyle changes that include a weight loss program that expands to eating healthy food in the right amounts and getting plenty of exercise goes a long way to losing, and keeping, the extra weight off for a lifetime.

[Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver]