Weighing In is a STOP Obesity Alliance Blog

The State of Obamacare Today

Morgan Downey, STOP Alliance Policy Advisor, weighs in on where Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is today as it moves closer to the key date, October 1, 2013. What do you need to know? Individual mandate? State exchanges? Essential health benefits?

STOP Obesity Alliance July E-Newsletter

Dear Reader,

Thank you for the warm welcome to my new role with the STOP Obesity Alliance. It’s been an exciting time as I settle in at the George Washington University. As I’ve been working with the STOP staff to discuss our body of work and future direction internally, the external obesity landscape continues to evolve rapidly.

Click here to read more.

Dr. Carmona Supports EHB Task Force Recommendations

View Dr. Richard H. Carmona’s, 17th U.S. Surgeon General and the Alliance’s Health and Wellness Chairperson, letter of support for the Essential Health Benefits Task Force recommendations here.

GW Research Paper Title
STOP Obesity Alliance Provider Discussion Tool Literature Review

Through a systematic review of relevant literature featured in peer-reviewed journals STOP Obesity Alliance summarized four main findings while conducting a Provider Discussion Tool literature review. The review was conducted using search terms including obesity treatment in primary care, obesity diagnosis, barriers to obesity treatment, obesity bias in primary care, obesity discussion tools, motivational interviewing techniques, and physician training in obesity. The four main findings are listed below.

  • Finding 1: Most providers are not having instructive or satisfactory conversations with their patients about weight. Even when physicians have conversations about weight, patients do not necessarily come away from the experience with the information they need.
  • Finding 2: Physicians who are struggling to discuss weight with their patients currently lack the necessary resources (most notably training, patient materials, and time) to treat patients with overweight and obesity.
  • Finding 3: Behavioral and medical treatment can be effective in certain patient populations, but improvised discussions run the risk of potentially stigmatizing or shaming patients, which can be detrimental to obesity treatment and patient outcomes.
  • Finding 4: Some researchers have developed tools designed to provide assistance to PCPs treating obesity. Though few, these real world applications have been shown to effectively educate patients through informed conversations with their physicians, while simultaneously removing or lessening other barriers to obesity treatment.

Click here to view the Provider Discussion Tool literature review in PDF format.


The Latest “Weight and the States” Bulletin

New! The latest installment of the “Weight and the States” bulletin is now available. In this issue, the STOP Obesity Alliance’s research team at The George Washington University takes a detailed look at state-by-state Medicaid coverage of obesity treatments, particularly coverage of bariatric surgery and obesity medications. The researchers suggest that providers would benefit from clarity around which patients are appropriate for consideration of obesity medication and bariatric surgery and under what circumstances such treatments will be reimbursed.

Click here to view the bulletin.

Click here to view charts depicting 2013 Medicaid Fee-for-Service Treatment of Obesity Interventions in the U.S. by state.


Community Benefit and Obesity Programming: Guidance and Opportunities for Nonprofit Hospitals

New research from the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance sheds light on the challenges and opportunities for nonprofit hospitals to address obesity through community benefit activities. Nonprofit hospitals can use the insights offered in the paper to inform their decisions around obesity programming. The paper offers guidance on issues such as how to select community partners, how to determine the scope of an intervention, and which obesity-specific factors to take into account when developing programs. Findings included in the paper from the Alliance’s research team at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services include a lack of proven community-based programs that directly address obesity in adults; a need to reduce stigma; and the value of effective partnerships.

Click here to read the paper.


The Latest “Weight and the States” Bulletin
hereThe latest installment of the “Weight and the States” bulletin is now available.  This edition focuses on what states, particularly state public health agencies, might consider doing to aid nonprofit hospitals.  Ensuring that local obesity efforts align with state efforts could help increase the efficacy and reach of public health efforts.  This bulletin explores ideas state public health departments could considering, including:
Identifying opportunities to work with their local public health counterparts and nonprofit hospitals throughout the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) process to ensure that hospitals conduct appropriate health needs assessments.
Looking for ways to participate in nonprofit hospitals’ strategic implementation planning and provide appropriate technical expertise based on each community’s identified health needs.

The latest installment of the “Weight and the States” bulletin is now available. This edition focuses on what states, particularly state public health agencies, might consider doing to aid nonprofit hospitals. Ensuring that local obesity efforts align with state efforts could help increase the efficacy and reach of public health efforts. This bulletin explores ideas state public health departments could consider, including:

  • Identifying opportunities to work with their local public health counterparts and nonprofit hospitals throughout the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) process to ensure that hospitals conduct appropriate health needs assessments.
  • Looking for ways to participate in nonprofit hospitals’ strategic implementation planning and to provide appropriate technical expertise based on each community’s identified health needs.

Click here to view the bulletin.


The Latest “Weight and the States” Bulletin

The latest installment of the “Weight and the States” bulletin is now available. In this issue, the STOP Obesity Alliance’s research team at The George Washington University finds as states move in 2013 and work towards putting health reform into place, there is still a lack of coverage for obesity intervention services. The researchers also found some states are working towards streamlining their obesity prevention efforts.

Click here to view the bulletin.


“Weight and the States” – Fall 2012

This installment of the “Weight and the States” bulletin helps state leaders in processing the impact of the Medicaid expansion decision on coverage for obesity prevention and treatment. We compiled information about where states currently stand on Medicaid expansion, what factors are important to states when considering whether or not they will expand eligibility, and current coverage for obesity prevention and treatment.

Click here to view charts depicting Medicaid Fee-for-Service Treatment of Obesity Interventions in the U.S. by state.

Click here to view the bulletin.


“Weight and the States” – Summer 2012

The second installment of the “Weight and the States” bulletin continues the conversation the Alliance began in 2011 surrounding essential health benefits (EHB) and obesity, but shifts its focus to support states that are working to design their own EHB packages. Based on national recommendations the STOP Obesity Alliance EHB Task Force released in 2011, this bulletin examines how states might consider obesity when making the tough decisions about what to include.  Click here to view the bulletin.


“Weight and the States” – Spring 2012

The first 2012 installment of the “Weight and the States” bulletin examines the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) list of small-group health plans, which determine coverage benchmarks for states’ essential health benefits packages. The George Washington University research team and Obesity Care Continuum, a coalition of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Obesity Action Coalition and The Obesity Society, examined what coverage is available in these plans for obesity prevention and intervention, including bariatric surgery and weight-loss programs, in each state.

Click here to see detailed information about each top-three small employer plan in each state.

Click here to view the bulletin.


“Weight and the States” – Winter 2011

Using legislative databases and news sources, the final 2011 installment of the “Weight and the States” reviews obesity prevention, treatment and other initiatives in states. The bulletin identifies five trends in state legislative proposals and initiatives focusing on obesity and weight-related chronic disease including: obesity surveillance and tracking, state employee and Medicaid wellness programs, proposed modifications to the modifications to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), food and beverage taxes and state employee benefit plan coverage uncertainties. Click here to view the bulletin.


“Weight and the States” – Fall 2011

The second installment of the “Weight and the States” bulletin focuses on the Alliance’s Obesity GPS. The Obesity GPS is a tool policymakers can use to guide development or evaluation of obesity-related policies and programs. The bulletin includes examples of how the Obesity GPS can be used through a review of existing wellness incentive programs in four states: Florida, West Virginia, Rhode Island and Idaho. Click here to view the bulletin.


George Washington University Report Reveals Personal Costs of Obesity in the United States

The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services Department of Health Policy released a report in September 2010 titled, “A Heavy Burden: The Individual Costs of Being Overweight and Obese in the United States,” revealing the high costs of obesity to individuals in the United States.  The research takes into account costs related to medical care, absenteeism from work, short-term disability, lost productivity and the need for extra gasoline, and found that the annual cost of being obese is $4,879 for a woman and $2,646 for a man.  The data included in the report, coupled with the widely reported societal costs of obesity, highlight the enormity of the financial impact of the epidemic to the individual and underscores the critical need for policies that focus on prevention and treatment for those who are already obese.

To read the full report, click here.


George Washington University Department of Health Policy State-by-State Analysis of Obesity Coverage

Since every state faces different needs when it comes to addressing its own public health concerns, there are a plethora of different directions they are taking to implement health reform. How states will tackle obesity and weight-related chronic diseases is no exception. To allow for more effective tracking of implementation, The George Washington University research team for the STOP Obesity Alliance conducted a first of its kind state-by-state analysis of the landscape of coverage for the prevention and treatment of obesity and related conditions. The charts are a baseline compilation of data on how these conditions are addressed in state Medicaid programs, state employee health benefit plans, and state insurance mandates for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Click here to view the State Obesity Research Summary.

Click here to view the Medicaid Fee-for-Service Treatment of Obesity Interventions chart.

Click here to view the State Employee Health Benefit Plans Treatment of Obesity Interventions chart.

Click here to view the Obesity & Health-Status Mandates for Private Insurance chart.


STOP Obesity Alliance Summary of Obesity-Related Provisions in Health Reform

The health reform legislation passed earlier this year includes provisions to address some of the devastating impacts of obesity in America – on adults and children.  The George Washington University research team for the STOP Obesity Alliance conducted an analysis of the health reform legislation to assess initiatives and policies targeting obesity this year and beyond.

Click here to read the complete analysis of health reform legislation.


White Paper Available! Improving Obesity Management in Adult Primary Care

View the full Executive Summary and White Paper here.

The obesity crisis in the United States has led to devastating health consequences and skyrocketing costs. Even with increased awareness of the obesity epidemic, the nation lacks coordinated and effective efforts to identify and remove systemic and cultural barriers that interfere with individuals’ weight loss success.

On March 16, 2010, the STOP Obesity Alliance research team at The George Washington University released a white paper based on outcomes of an expert roundtable that examined innovative approaches to help address obesity in the primary care setting.  The paper outlines five areas to explore to improve the treatment of obesity in primary care:

      - Monitoring weight, health indicators and risk;

      – Assessing patient motivation;

      – Defining success;

      – Increasing integration and care coordination; and

      – Implementing electronic medical records.


STOP Obesity Alliance Side-by-Side Comparison and Analysis of Obesity-Related Provisions in Health Reform Proposals

This year’s focus on health reform offers an opportunity to address the prevalence of obesity in America.  Recognizing that obesity is a significant contributor to the nation’s health care challenges, the STOP Obesity Alliance believes that health reform should tackle obesity head-on.  The George Washington University research team for the STOP Obesity Alliance conducted a side-by-side comparison to assess what the current, proposed health reform legislation does to address obesity and to identify key ways in which the legislation could improve.

Click here to read the most up to date side-by-side analysis. 

This ongoing analysis helped inform health reform policy recommendations released by the Alliance in September that centered on the following areas:

  • - Standardized and effective clinical interventions
  • - Enhanced use of clinical preventive services
  • - Effective, evidence-based community programs and policies
  • - Coordinated research efforts

STOP Obesity Alliance Side-by-Side Analysis of Obesity-Related Provisions in Health Reform Proposals

This year’s focus on health reform offers an opportunity to address the prevalence of obesity in America.  Recognizing that obesity is a significant contributor to the nation’s health care challenges, the STOP Obesity Alliance believes that health reform should tackle obesity head-on.  The George Washington University research team for the STOP Obesity Alliance conducted a side-by-side analysis to assess what the current, proposed health reform legislation does to address obesity and to identify key ways in which the legislation could improve. 

This analysis helped inform health reform policy recommendations released by the Alliance in September that center on the following areas:

  • - Standardized and effective clinical interventions
  • - Enhanced use of clinical preventive services
  • - Effective, evidence-based community programs and policies
  • - Coordinated research efforts

Click here to read the side-by-side comparison.  This document will be updated periodically as the current proposals progress through the approval process.