- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 80 percent of adults and about one-third of children now meet the clinical definition of overweight or obese.
- The medical community’s primary response to this shift has been to blame fat people for being fat.
- Medical students receive an average of just 19 hours of nutrition education over four years of instruction—five hours fewer than they got in 2006.
Obesity. It’s literally killing us and raising healthcare costs for ALL of us. Yet in a study that recorded 461 interactions with doctors, only 13 percent of patients got any specific plan for diet or exercise and only 5 percent got help arranging a follow-up visit .
“It can be stressful when [patients] start asking a lot of specific questions” about diet and weight loss, one doctor told researchers in 2012. “I don’t feel like I have the time to sit there and give them private counseling on basics. I say, ‘Here’s some websites, look at this.’”
A 2016 survey found that nearly twice as many higher-weight Americans have tried meal-replacement diets—the kind most likely to fail—than have ever received counseling from a dietician.
“It borders on medical malpractice,” says Andrew (not his real name), a consultant and musician who has been large his whole life. A few years ago, on a routine visit, Andrew’s doctor weighed him, announced that he was “dangerously overweight” and told him to diet and exercise, offering no further specifics. Should he go on a low-fat diet? Low-carb? Become a vegetarian? Should he do Crossfit? Yoga?
A visit to a dietician should be required
Why don’t insurers require a consultation with a registered dietician? Because it makes sense and would of course cost more money in the short-term. Why haven’t there been any studies to determine the effects of meeting with a dietician on obesity?
Obesity is one of the biggest health concerns in communities across the country, with about 70 percent of county officials ranking it as a leading problem where they live. Factors related to obesity are also rated as communities’ priority health issues, including nutrition and physical activity at 58 percent, heart disease and hypertension at 57 percent and diabetes at 44 percent.
The obesity crisis costs our nation more than $150 billion in healthcare costs annually
and billions of dollars more in lost productivity.