Fed Says Obese Adults Should Get Counseling

Today in “the government knows best,” a federal health advisory panel said Monday that obese adults should receive counseling in order to stem the growing health crisis.

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force handed down two new recommendations to health professionals in order to combat the rise of obesity in America. The panel of medical experts that advises the government on guidelines for treatment said that physicians should screen patients for obesity (which it defines as a person with a body mass index of 30 or more). If a patient is anywhere between 25 or 30 on the BMI (or more), the task force recommends a comprehensive weight loss and behavior management program with anywhere between 12 and 26 sessions a year, notes CBS.

“Obesity is a very serious health problem in the United States, and in the past 30 years, obesity rates have dramatically increased,” said Task Force member Dr. David Grossman, a pediatrician at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, in the press release. “The good news is that is that even modest weight loss can reduce health risks for people who are obese. And, there is strong scientific evidence that shows that intensive programs with 12 to 26 sessions in the first year can help people manage their weight.”

Well, that is good news. The sad part is we need a government task force to tell us what should be common sense.

Obesity and obesity-related diseases are already responsible for roughly $147 billion in annual health care spending, reports the Boston Herald. Despite drawing the line between a BMI of 25 to 30, the task force suggests only using the program on extremely high-risk patients. “When determining which people may benefit the most from counseling, primary care providers may consider patient readiness for change, social support and community resources that support behavioral change, and other health care and preventive service priorities,” Grossman said.

Some doctors do think that medical health professionals should make their patients aware that they are obese. A recent study showed that more than half of obese patients were never advised to lose weight in the first place. “That’s just not fair to the patient,” said Der-Sarkissian, in charge of adult weight management efforts in Southern California. “You have to diagnose the patient and have the discussion, even if the patient doesn’t really want to hear it,” he said.

Do you think that rigorous counseling is necessary for obese Americans?