Add news
March 2010April 2010May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020November 2020December 2020January 2021February 2021March 2021April 2021May 2021June 2021July 2021August 2021September 2021October 2021November 2021December 2021January 2022February 2022March 2022April 2022May 2022June 2022July 2022August 2022September 2022October 2022November 2022December 2022
News Every Day |

Shame won’t solve America’s obesity crisis: How Congress can help

The alarm bells should be ringing in Congress: A disease that is already a leading killer of Americans is now projected to afflict almost half of all adults within the next eight years.

The disease is obesity. For decades it was thought to be a personal moral failing. Science proved that to be wrongheaded, just as chemistry showed substance abuse to be impervious to “just say no.” Congress needs to act because body shaming can’t be a stand-in for national health policy. 

Today, more than 4 in 10 U.S. adults have obesity, up from 3 in 10 in 2000. Those defined as having severe obesity increased even faster, from roughly 1 in 20 to 1 in 10.

Obesity kills 300,000 Americans annually, and poor diet is the leading risk factor for mortality in the U.S. Obesity is also an underlying condition in almost a third of COVID-19 hospitalizations. It damages nearly every system in the human body, leading to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, several forms of cancer, mental illness, difficulty with physical function and many other maladies.

Strikingly, the medical establishment spent nearly a quarter trillion dollars in 2020 treating conditions where obesity was a driving cause, but spent alarmingly little on preventing or treating obesity itself. Not only does preventing obesity and obesity-related diseases eliminate unnecessary suffering and death, it also makes financial sense. A 2022 Bipartisan Policy Center report coauthored by one of us concluded that obesity costs $248 billion (in 2020) in annual medical expenditures, 6.2 percent of total expenditures. A USC Schaeffer Center health microsimulation model found that obesity is a bigger risk to public finances than smoking. 

Despite this, Medicare and private insurers cover few obesity treatments. Currently, coverage is limited to behavioral counseling in primary care settings and weight loss surgery for people with severe obesity and other related conditions — leaving most people with obesity with too few effective options.

More intensive behavioral counseling could help battle obesity, but Medicare falls short by limiting coverage to primary care providers who are rarely fully trained in weight management and lack the time to provide lengthy interventions. Intensive behavioral counseling could be delivered more effectively — and potentially at a lower cost — by specialized providers, including registered dietitians and psychologists. Medicare coverage for Medical Nutrition Therapy — a type of nutrition counseling provided by a registered dietitian — is also limited to people with diabetes or kidney disease, leaving out care for those with obesity and numerous other diet-related diseases.

When the Medicare drug benefit was created almost 20 years ago, Congress prohibited coverage of weight loss therapies on the grounds that they were cosmetic, rather than health, treatments. As they usually do, private insurers followed suit: Less than 10 percent of people have commercial health insurance that covers weight management medications.

Despite the lack of incentive from Medicare, five drugs have come to market that can reduce weight by 6-16 percent over 52 to 68 weeks. Reducing just 5 percent of body weight improves blood sugar, blood pressure, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, sleep apnea and other chronic conditions. The medications are safe and important tools for Americans’ health but can’t meaningfully contribute to the battle against obesity without insurance coverage. 

Bipartisan bills in Congress aim to solve the problem. 

The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) was introduced by Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.), Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) and former Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.). It would expand Medicare coverage to include FDA-approved prescription drugs for chronic weight management and intensive behavioral counseling provided by registered dietitians and other specialists. 

Another bipartisan bill, the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act, was introduced by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Reps. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) and Fred Upton (R-Ill.). This bill would expand Medicare coverage for Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) to include obesity and other diet-related diseases and allow a range of professionals to refer for the service.

Beyond access to medications and nutritional counseling, bipartisan political leadership is needed to advance policies that improve nutrition security for all. In the United States, childhood obesity is more common than childhood hunger, even in low-income households. The Child Nutrition Reauthorization — which includes the National School Lunch Program and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, among other programs — should be passed with an eye to battling childhood obesity by improving food and nutrition security. In addition, the reauthorization of the Farm Bill by the upcoming 118th Congress will provide an opportunity to elevate diet quality as part of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), known as the “food stamp” program.

Medicare and private insurers pay for treatments for diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. If saving lives is the objective, then logic, clinical evidence, and compassion dictate that they should also pay for preventing and treating obesity, starting now.

Anand Parekh is a board-certified internal medicine physician, chief medical advisor at the Bipartisan Policy Center, and former deputy assistant secretary of Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dana Goldman is dean of the Price School of Public Policy, and co-director of the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics, at the University of Southern California.

Read also

Pundit weighs in on nightmare Michael Edwards scenario as Liverpool claim made

World Cup 2022 Group B LIVE TABLE: Standings as England TOP group while sending Brit rivals Wales home along with Iran

Hidden heartbreak of England stars battling for World Cup glory as they prove to be inspirations on & off pitch

News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on

News Every Day

RoboCV: stacker robot — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here

News Every Day

RoboCV: stacker robot

Sports today

Новости тенниса
Алексей Смирнов

Режиссёр Алексей Смирнов: Приезд в Астрахань стал для меня счастливым случаем

Спорт в России и мире

Кубок Москвы по джампингу прошёл в ТРЦ «Нора»


All sports news today


Sports in Russia today


Возвращение супер коллаборации А4! Новый бокс с локерами от А4 и Бургер Кинг

Новости России

Game News

This DIY 4090 glass table build sees beauty meet the beast


Творческие коллективы Химок стали лауреатами конкурса «МиР — Музыка и Развитие»

Губернаторы России

Образовательная эко-программа МТС и «Фиксиков» попала в число победителей Всероссийской премии «За верность науке — 2022»

Заботливые политики помогут предотвратить эпидемии и войны?! Рекомендации проекта Служба общей информационной безопасности, Анатолий Голод


Два грузовых автомобиля столкнулись на Автозаводской эстакаде

Авиарейсы в Архангельск с 1 мая будут приниматься на запасном аэропорте

В Сети обсуждают девушку Тимати и ее новые пикантные фото

В Казани объявили победителей регионального отборочного тура Всероссийского культурно-благотворительного фестиваля «Добрая волна»

Бутусов заболел и отменил концерты на юге России

Скромный букет и скорбное молчание: вдова привела сына на могилу Градского

Милош Раонич назвал победу в "Кубке Дэвиса" величайшим событием для канадского тенниса

Ллейтон Хьюитт и Алекс Де Минаур прокомментировали то, что Ник Киргиос не сыграл за сборную Австралии в финальном турнире "Кубка Дэвиса"

Канада впервые выиграла "Кубок Дэвиса", в федерации тенниса Польши скандал. Главные события минувшей недели

«В топ-10 не попала, зато осуществилась другая мечта». Елена Рыбакина видит плюсы в том, что не придется защищать очки за победу на Уимблдоне

Новые провокации Азербайджана. «Южный Азербайджан» крепчает: Баку втягивается в антииранскую истерию

Масштабный Фестиваль психосоматики 

SUNLIGHT расширил сеть до 500 магазинов

Интервью с военным журналистом Артуром Геворкяном: история и аналитика

Мировые звёзды танцевального спорта выступят на турнире «Кубок Триколор» в Мирном

Масштабный Фестиваль психосоматики 

«Таврия» и «Рубин» разыграют Кубок Крыма по футболу

РБК: денежный рынок на Мосбирже остался почти без долларов и евро

Три человека пострадали в ДТП на Рублевском шоссе в Москве

Нагиев похвастался своими кубиками пресса

Интервью с военным журналистом Артуром Геворкяном: история и аналитика

На направлении Магадан-Москва с нового 2023 года плоский тариф за круговой полёт поднимется до 25000 р.

Путин в России и мире

Персональные новости

Фрэнк Синатра

Эпоха Утёсова, Синатры и Армстронга: в Севастополе устроят шоу с танцами и джазом

News Every Day

RoboCV: stacker robot

Friends of Today24

Музыкальные новости

Персональные новости