On February 27th, 2018 Washington D.C. was taken over by healthcare professionals and supporters to urge our congressmen across the nation to sign the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA). Nourish Dietetic Intern, Carlie Saint-Laurent was among the constituents.
As of 2013, the American Medical Association officially labeled obesity as a disease. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI), the notorious measurement of a healthy weight, 30 or greater. Healthcare spends an estimated $400 billion on obesity and obesity-related disease. This life-threatening U.S. epidemic is the second leading cause of cancer, and associated with many other costly health conditions like sleep apnea, hypertension, type II diabetes, and osteoarthritis. It is a serious illness that has a multifactorial causation from environment, mental health, physical health, race, ethnicity, and of course nutrition, to name a few. According to the Center of Disease (CDC), 34.9% or 78.6 million American adults are obese and it is predicted by 2050, that number will rise to 50%.
The TROA is demanding that Medicare cover obesity-related FDA-approved medications and Intensive Behavioral treatment (IBT) to see health professionals (like Nourish Dietitians) to be covered for clients. As the Obesity Society states, this bill will provide “more funding and opportunities for health care professionals…” With these areas addressed, the prevalence of obesity can be reduced.
Nutrition and policy go hand in hand. This is just a glimpse of the types of issues and why it is important for nutrition professionals to take action. They have to consistently stand up and voice their concerns, provide solutions, and take action in order for everyone to have nutrition services that can change people lifestyles for the better.
Lobbying is not only done in the Capitol of the United States but it provides nutrition professionals to have the financial capital to serve their communities. We know that obesity is preventable but what can be done with people who already have the disease? Treatment, which is what TROA will provide.