Today, more than a third of the adult population, 36.5 percent, is affected by obesity. The number of adults who are affected by severe obesity continues to rise. It’s time for a change in obesity care. With severe obesity on the rise, our nation, led by the health care community, must attack this disease from multiple angles and unite to overhaul the treatment of obesity. ACOG recognizes the important role that obstetrician-gynecologists play. Ob-gyns often meet their patients at a young age, when obesity is less likely to be an issue. Therefore, we are in an ideal position to help educate women and provide counsel on the importance of a healthy lifestyle and fighting obesity.
The 2nd Annual National Obesity Care Week (NOCW), October 30 through November 5, seeks to ignite a national movement to ensure anyone affected by obesity receives respectful and comprehensive care. ACOG is proud to join the Campaign, which was founded by The Obesity Society, the Obesity Action Coalition, Strategies to Overcome and Prevent Obesity Alliance and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
Because we know that obesity has particularly concerning obstetric complications such as epigenetic downstream effects like higher cesarean delivery rates, pregnancy-related comorbidities and medical problems for future generations, my predecessor, Mark S. DeFransesco, MD, MBA, started great work in the fight against the worldwide obesity epidemic as ACOG president. He developed an Obesity Toolkit for providers that includes information about multiple aspects of obesity care as well as links to additional resources. NOCW also offers some trusted medical tools and resources on www.obesitycareweek.org.
All NOCW supporters recognize that obesity is a multifactorial disease that can only be addressed with the full spectrum of evidence-based medical strategies. These strategies include:
- Intensive Behavioral Treatment
- Behavior modification: exercise, diet/meal replacement, support groups
- Weight management products and programs
- Healthcare provider-supervised weight management
- Medications for weight loss and chronic weight management
- Bariatric surgery
While we must educate people about these care options, we must also address barriers to care, such as weight bias in both society and among the medical community. This year, NOCW launched its Take 5 Challenge to inspire action and encourage productive conversations around comprehensive obesity care in ways that will support patients and change practice. Take 5 provides healthcare professionals with the tools and information they need to appropriately and compassionately address obesity care with patients, peers or people.
We need more voices – your voice – to reach our goal of achieving better care. Join us in recognizing National Obesity Care Week, October 30th – November 5th. Take action today: sign the Treat Obesity Seriously Pledge and contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to sign on as a supporter.