New Screening and Treatment Recommendations for Obesity (12-29-2003) 

The rising prevalence of obesity in the United States has placed an estimated 44 million obese Americans at increased risk for several serious conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer and arthritis. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, therefore, has established new screening and treatment recommendations for obesity. While Task Force recommendations are not mandated, they typically become the standards of care for medical practice in the United States. The Task Force - which has made recommendations about screening and treating numerous health conditions - was designed to provide health care professionals with current, evidence-based scientific information about appropriate health care services for patients.

The new recommendations include the following:

  • Clinicians are urged to screen all adult patients for obesity by calculating their body mass index (BMI).
  • Clinicians are urged to prescribe intensive counseling and behavioral interventions for adults found to be obese.

Obesity Screening Report

The new recommendations may be of particular importance to large employers because they are likely to have a positive impact on the health and well being of obese adults by helping them to lose weight. Large employers therefore may want to make certain that their health plans are paying appropriate attention to this new standard of care.