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Public Health


The WSMA recognizes obesity as a major endemic health problem and, as such, the WSMA will:

  1. urge physicians as well as managed care organizations and other third-party payers to recognize obesity as a complex disorder involving [behavior], appetite regulation and energy metabolism that is associated with a variety of comorbid conditions;
  2. work with appropriate federal agencies, medical specialty societies, and public health organizations to educate physicians about prevention and management of overweight and obesity in children and adults, including education in basic principles and practices of physical activity and nutrition counseling; such training should be included in undergraduate and graduate medical education and through accredited continuing medical education programs;
  3. urge federal support of research to determine:
    1. the causes and mechanisms of overweight and obesity, including biological, social, and epidemiological influences on weight gain, weight loss, and weight maintenance;
    2. the long-term safety and efficacy of voluntary weight maintenance and weight loss practices and therapies, including surgery;
    3. effective interventions to prevent obesity in children and adults; and
    4. the effectiveness of weight loss counseling by physicians;
  4. encourage national efforts to educate the public about the health risks of being overweight and obese and provide information about how to achieve and maintain a preferred healthy weight;
  5. urge physicians to assess their patients for overweight and obesity during routine medical examinations and discuss with at-risk patients the health consequences of further weight gain; if treatment is indicated, physicians should encourage and facilitate weight maintenance or reduction efforts in their patients or refer them to a physician with special interest and expertise in the clinical management of obesity;
  6. urge all physicians and patients to maintain a desired weight and prevent inappropriate weight gain;
  7. encourage physicians to become knowledgeable of community resources and referral services that can assist with the management of overweight and obese patients; and
  8. urge the appropriate federal agencies to work with organized medicine and the health insurance industry to develop coding and payment mechanisms for the evaluation and management of obesity.

(Res A-6, A-03) (Reaffirmed A-23)

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Abbreviations for House of Delegates report origination:

EC – Executive Committee; BT – Board of Trustees; CPA – Council on Professional Affairs; JC – Judicial Council; CHS – Community and Health Services

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