Counseling Points to Drive Down Obesity

July 29th 2015
Erin Drewniany, PharmD (Candidate)
Erin Drewniany, PharmD (Candidate)

Obesity is a common issue in the United States. According to the Food Research and Action Center, 68.5% of adults are clinically "overweight" and 34.9% are "obese". This obesity statistic is an increase from 27.1% in 2013 and 25.5% in 2008, and the trend is continuing upward. Other health conditions can be exacerbated by obesity and so it is important to educate patients on how losing weight can not only increase their health and survival, but also contribute to a better overall quality of life.

Obesity is a common issue in the United States. According to the Food Research and Action Center, 68.5% of adults are clinically “overweight” and 34.9% are “obese”. This obesity statistic is an increase from 27.1% in 2013 and 25.5% in 2008, and the trend is continuing upward. Other health conditions can be exacerbated by obesity and so it is important to educate patients on how losing weight can not only increase their health and survival, but also contribute to a better overall quality of life.

In the United States, retail clinics are becoming a more popular option for individuals seeking quick and immediate health care advice that is also convenient and cost-effective. These clinics provide greater access to patients in a more casual environment and creates a perfect opportunity for the advanced practice clinicians who work in these settings to counsel patients on weight loss and the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A recent article on PharmacyTimes.com outlined 5 weight-loss counseling points for pharmacists that are also applicable to advanced practice practitioners:

1. Weigh yourself at the same time every day.

Studies have shown that when patients who are trying to lose weight keep track of their weight on a daily basis, they stay accountable for their diet and exercise throughout the day and are motivated as they lose small amounts of weight (5-10 pounds) each week. In addition, patients who keep track of their weight on a daily basis keep the weight off, in comparison to patients who do not weigh themselves daily.

2. Jenny Craig and Weight Watcher-type programs are effective for losing weight and keeping it off.

Studies have shown that long-term health programs, such as Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, are effective in promoting weight loss and helping patients keep the weight off. As a clinician in a retail setting, advanced practice clinicians should be aware of the programs in their community and the benefits of such programs for weight loss. Educating patients on the different types of programs can be useful for patients who might not know how to go about weight loss otherwise.

3. Education on Childhood Obesity is important.

Since, almost 95% of parents with an overweight child will report that their child is within the normal weight ranges for their age, and over 80% report that their obese child is within the normal weight ranges, it is extremely important to educate parents on weight norms for children. This information can help parents to identify changes they might need to make in terms of choosing the right foods for their children, as well as lifestyle changes that may help them develop better nutritional habits, and promote overall positive health.

4. Weight loss can reduce comorbidities.

Patients may be unaware that obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes. Advance practice clinicians should educate their patients on the risk factors for obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, and other breathing-related conditions.

5. Set realistic weight loss goals with weight loss medications.

Patients may turn to pharmacotherapy to help supplement their weight loss. Most patients can lose up to 5%-10% of their body weight with weigh loss medications if taken correctly and combined with a healthy diet and exercise routine. It is important to educate patients that although these medications are meant to help boost weight loss, lifestyle changes are still an important aspect to losing weight. Clinicians must help patients set realistic goals for their weight loss plan in order to keep them motivated and on track for a healthier lifestyle.

With the increasing popularity of retail clinic use, retail clinicians have the perfect opportunity to educate patients about the rising health issues that relate to obesity and the importance of maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Thisarticlewas published online July 27, 2015 on PharmacyTimes.com

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