September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
While data shows that obesity numbers continue to rise, perhaps the most frightening numbers related to obesity are those among the children in the United States. More than 23 million children over the age of 2 are either obese or overweight. This month, organizations across the country are joining forces to increase awareness about this alarming trend of childhood obesity. The fitness industry can play an important and active role in educating the public about childhood obesity as well as providing resources to encourage healthier lifestyles. Additional information about what you and/or your club can do to support Childhood Obesity Awareness Month can be found online at: www.healthierkidsbrighterfutures.org.
Obesity Still on the Rise
According to a report published in the British medical journal The Lancet, half of all adults in the United States will be classified as obese by the year 2030. Reports earlier in 2011 indicated that perhaps the obesity numbers were finally reaching a plateau after years of public awareness campaigns and healthy lifestyle education programs. However, this latest information predicts that the obesity rate for males in the United States will continue to rise from its current level of 32% to approximately 50% by 2030, while the female obesity rate will rise from its current level of 35% to somewhere between 45%-52%. Earlier predictions by the WHO estimated that the potential reach of obesity would be closer to 70% of the United States population by 2030. The medical and healthcare costs associated with obesity are quite significant – an estimated $66 billion per year.
Medicare Recipients May Receive Treatment for Obesity
The Campaign to End Obesity is reporting that Medicare beneficiaries may become eligible for “unprecedented obesity treatment services” if the proposal being considered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is approved. The CMS is reviewing a proposal for “intensive behavioral therapy” which would focus on sustained weight loss through interventions such as regular exercise participation, nutritional counseling, and regular screenings for BMI as well as periodic behavioral counseling. It has not yet been determined whether the proposal would integrate gyms/fitness facilities and/or personal trainers into the mixture of professionals working with these obese Medicare beneficiaries. However, it is well-known, and well-documented that successful weight loss and weight management strategies need a balance between nutritional counseling/therapy and regular, consistent exercise participation. Public comments are welcome through September 30, 2011 online at: www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database/details/submit-public-comment.aspx