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The Obesity Epidemic

April 5, 2013 |

While America swallows $147 billion in obesity-related healthcare costs, physicians called on to confront the crisis

The United States has a weight problem. And physicians are being called on to adapt their practices to confront it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010, more than 78 million U.S. adults and about 12.5 million children and adolescents were obese. In fact, the United States has the highest rate of childhood obesity among 30 industrialized nations.

Obesity and its related health problems—type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, joint problems, sleep apnea, and cancer, just to name a few— represent an enormous cost to the healthcare system. Today, we spend roughly $150 billion a year on this disease. What’s more, a 2012 report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, “F as in Fat, How Obesity Threatens America’s Future,” found that obesity-related healthcare costs could increase by more than 10% in 34 states and by more than 20% in nine states over the next 20 years.

Overweight and obese patients present additional complexity to the medical problems physicians face on a daily basis in their practices, as well as the costs associated with treating them.


No easy answer exists when it comes to helping patients manage their weight.

“Obesity is a much harder condition to treat than almost anything else,” says Charles Cutler, MD, FACP, a practicing internist and member of the American College of Physicians (ACP) Board of Regents. “There isn’t a…simple solution as there is with other common conditions we address in the primary care setting,” he says.

Read the full article at

Source:  by Lisa Zamosky for Medical Economics on February 25, 2013 at

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