Written by Bob Shepard
Calling it the most under-reimbursed major disease in America, two endocrinology societies announced an evidence-based, multidimensional, comprehensive framework to combat the nation’s obesity epidemic today. Meeting in Washington, D.C., the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American College of Endocrinology Consensus Conference of Obesity: Building an Evidence Base for Comprehensive Action laid out a plan of attack. The conference featured obesity thought-leaders representing public and private stakeholders, part of a year’s long effort to identify the myriad issues surrounding the epidemic of obesity and the necessary steps for solving it.
“Key findings include the need for an improved definition of obesity, high-quality research that includes evaluation of a complications-centric clinical approach to obesity and better understanding of reimbursement mechanisms,” said conference chair W. Timothy Garvey, M.D., professor and chair of the University of Alabama at BirminghamDepartment of Nutrition Sciences.
“We also need to address the value associated with obesity prevention and management, increased nutrition and obesity education, and enhanced public awareness and health literacy,” said conference co-chair Alan J. Garber, M.D., Ph.D.
The framework was derived from five fundamental questions debated by conference participants: What is obesity, what options are available for obesity management, what is the optimal use of therapeutic modalities, can the framework be cost-effective, and what are the knowledge gaps and how can they be filled?
Each question was considered within the realms of biomedicine, government and regulation, health industry and economics, plus society, education and research.
Conference organizers say next steps include translating these findings into actionable recommendations for individual patients that are likely to succeed and developing logistics for effective implementation.
The AACE’s Board of Directors declared obesity a disease state in July 2011. The association also was the author of the resolution adopted in June 2013 by the American Medical Association House of Delegates recognizing obesity as a disease.
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Panel led by Garvey sets framework to combat obesity epidemic