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Although obesity is generally perceived to be a disease, it is not consistently being treated as such1

There is a strong belief held by people with obesity (PwO) that weight loss is their own responsibility. Combined with a relatively low concern about impact of weight on future health, this may contribute to a reluctance to seek medical care for their disease.

Health care professionals see a responsibility to support their patients' weight management efforts, but they don't always offer an obesity diagnosis. Conversations with their patients are sporadic and not always followed up in subsequent appointments.

While employers have the desire to improve the physical well-being of employees, their offerings are not effectively supporting the weight-loss efforts of people with obesity.

Collaborative efforts are necessary for more effective obesity care

The barriers identified in the ACTION Study highlight the need for collaborative efforts that can lead to better understanding of obesity and more effective solutions for obesity care.

Educate people with obesity, health care professionals, and employers about the biology, chronicity, and overall health impact of the disease. This could foster a greater willingness for these groups to work together to support weight management.
Learn more about obesity and the impact on the body.

Inform health care professionals about reasons why people with obesity may not discuss weight. This could reduce the reluctance among health care professionals to proactively initiate these important conversations.
Learn how health care professionals can best engage in productive weight management conversations with people with obesity.

Encourage health care professionals to regularly schedule follow-up visits focusing on the obesity diagnosis and the value of 5% to 10% weight loss2-8, given patients’ inclination to keep these appointments. Such efforts will provide greater consistency and support to people with obesity, and underscore that obesity is a disease that requires chronic weight management.
Learn how health care professionals can best engage in productive weight management conversations with people with obesity.

Increase understanding among employers that obesity can be effectively treated as a disease, potentially helping them better promote wellness programs and more rigorously assess their effectiveness in line with the needs of people with obesity.
Learn more about ways to address obesity in the workplace.

  1. Kaplan LM, Golden A, Jinnett K, et al. Perceptions of Barriers to Effective Obesity Care: Results from the National ACTION Study. Obesity. 2017. doi:10.1002/oby.22054.
  2. Jensen MD, Ryan DH, Apovian CM, et al. American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines; Obesity Society. 2013 AHA/ACC/TOS guideline for the management of overweight and obesity in adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines and The Obesity Society. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;63(25ptB):2985-3023.
  3. Knowler WC, Barrett-Connor E, Fowler SE, et al; for the Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin. N Engl J Med. 2002;346(6)393-403.
  4. Wing RR, Lang W, Wadden TA, et al. Benefits of modest weight loss in improving cardiovascular risk factors in overweight and obese individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2011;34(7):1481-1486.
  5. Dattilo AM, Kris-Etherton PM. Effects of weight reduction on blood lipids and lipoproteins: a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 1992;56(2):320-328.
  6. Tuomilehto H, Seppa J, Uusitupa M, et al. The impact of weight reduction in the prevention of the progression of obstructive sleep apnea: an explanatory analysis of a 5-year observational followup trial. Sleep Med. 2014;15(3):329-335.
  7. Foster GD, Borradaile KE, Sanders MH, et al; for the Sleep AHEAD Research Group of the Look AHEAD Research Group. A randomized study on the effect of weight loss on obstructive sleep apnea among obese patients with type 2 diabetes: the Sleep AHEAD study. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(17):1619-1626.
  8. Kuna ST, Reboussin DM, Borradaile KE, et al. Long-term effect of weight loss on obstructive sleep apnea severity in obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Sleep 2013;36:641-649.