To tackle America’s obesity crisis, over 35 leading U.S. healthcare organizations have joined forces to create National Obesity Care Week (NOCW), a yearly campaign that aims to develop a comprehensive and personalize approach to treating obesity. NOCW is scheduled for November 1-7 of this year, and will call upon healthcare professionals, patients, and policymakers alike to “Change the Way We Care” for obesity, developing a more compassionate approach to help those living with obesity.
At a summit in Gainesville, Florida last month, the attendees discussed guidelines, an educational curriculum, and an obesity treatment app, among other initiatives from a spectrum of disciplines.
“We represent many different specialties, backgrounds, and perspectives, but we’re all really treating the same disease,” said summit moderator John M. Morton, MD. “That’s why there is intense and growing interest in how we can work together to better help our patients with obesity and related diseases.”
Representatives who specialize in treating diabetes, oncology, and dentistry all agreed that obesity affects their patients. However, tackling the issue from one discipline isn’t enough; rather, a multidisciplinary approach needs to be taken.
Many Americans look to plastic surgery to fix weight issues, using invasive surgeries such as liposuction. But without comprehensive change, such as regular diet and exercise, statistics show that these individuals rarely keep off the weight that the liposuction has removed.
“Medical care is so siloed,” said MD MPH William Herman, representative of the American Diabetes Association. “We need to move from a piecemeal approach to one that is more comprehensive.”
And regardless of the discipline, every representative had something to contribute to the summit. For example, Jennifer Ligibel, MD, from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, presented data that demonstrated a strong correlation between obesity and cancer, positing that obesity control will be the highest for of cancer prevention over the next 20 years.
But this is only one piece of the puzzle. As America falls deeper into a troublesome and very real obesity epidemic, such a comprehensive approach may be the solution we have been searching for.