The WCHQ Obesity Advisory Group created this toolkit to address both clinical and operational workflows for treating obesity in primary care practice. WCHQ members identified the chronic disease of obesity as a growing concern, and in response, developed measures, education and improvement activities. This has been a vital step to improve treatment of the disease. The group produced this toolkit to provide relevant information for both the clinical provider and the operational administrator to build a successful obesity treatment workflow.
Millions of people are living with obesity, and it is a disease that is often overlooked. Obesity is a long-term health problem that impacts overall health. In 2019, 32 percent of Wisconsin residents were living with obesity. Obesity is associated with medical conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Societal attitudes toward people living with obesity increase stigma and deter people from seeking help. Insurers often do not offer a universal benefit for obesity treatment making it difficult for people to engage in treatment.
Your patients have probably been stigmatized because of their weight, have negative feelings triggered by words (obesity, diet, exercise, etc.), and have some pre-conceived thoughts coming into their visit. Being thoughtful and seeking approval to have a conversation about obesity is a critical part of setting the stage for a successful dialog with a patient.
Lifestyle factors are listed in order of relative importance regarding facilitating weight loss. Initiating healthier eating and activity habits is a fundamental step in weight management. Regardless of your patient’s disease stage, healthy eating and physical activity plans are recommended by AACE/ACE. Primary focus should be lifestyle change with secondary options or pharmaceuticals and surgery.
We have all lived in a society that places responsibility for weight on individuals, not systems. People have been told that if they work hard enough, they should be able to lose weight and maintain loss. If this were true, it seems unlikely that ¾ of the population would have overweight/obesity. It is VERY hard to lose weight, and especially hard to maintain weight loss. This struggle should be normalized for patients.