Obesity is a serious, costly and all too common problem in the United States. More than 78.6 million Americans are obese, which equates to a shocking one in three adults. Obesity-related conditions, such as stroke, heart disease, type-2 diabetes and certain cancers, are some of the leading causes of preventable death in the United States. What’s more, obesity costs our healthcare system an astounding $147 billion each year.
As healthcare providers, you’re likely familiar with the obesity epidemic in America. You may also be your patients’ number-one supporter when it comes to encouraging their weight loss efforts. Share these tips for weight loss with your patients to help them meet their goals:
- Support: WebMD® recommends weight loss plans with lots of interaction and support. Whether it comes from family and friends or through a weight loss program, a support system can provide patients with advice, motivation, accountability and encouragement.
Hospitals and clinics offering structured weight loss programs should schedule regular meetings—the recommendation is to meet at least 14 times over a six-month period. Be sure to promote any program offerings, dates and times via email, social media and direct mail. You may also want to distribute stretch bands and cool-down scarves with program information.
- Diet: A healthy, well-balanced diet is not only key to weight loss success, it also increases energy and improves mood. If patients wish to start a diet plan, advise them to steer clear of fads and opt instead for a scientifically backed approach. A survey of physicians, clinicians, dieticians and nurse practitioners revealed a list of recommended commercial diets from the following programs: Weight Watchers®, South Beach Diet®, Dash for Health®, Jenny Craig® and Nutrisystem®. Consider sharing these recommendations or others with patients by imprinting them on a Portion Plate or Portion Bowl.
- Exercise: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of exercise each week. Remind patients that it doesn’t all need to be done at once. A brisk, 30-minute walk a few days a week coupled with two days of strength training will get the job done. Recommend patients plan their activities a week in advance and keep track of progress. A day planner or wellness journal can help track planned versus actual activities, dates and durations.
- Behavior: Behavior change is one of the biggest success indicators when it comes to weight loss. After all, without modification to diet, exercise and lifestyle, patients end up right back where they started. Success starts with setting reasonable goals, monitoring progress, changing false beliefs and checking in regularly with support systems and healthcare providers.Encourage two-way communication with your patients by scheduling check-ins between appointments—online chats and email are convenient ways to communicate. Provide contact information and hours for your nurse line or other healthcare lines on a magnet or clip for easy access.
Remember, weight loss can be a challenging task for patients. With a little support and some proven guidelines, change is possible. Share these tips for weight loss success with your patients to help them move toward a newer, healthier version of themselves.
“Adult Obesity Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., 21 Sept. 2015. Web. Retrieved 09 Apr. 2016.
Carbonell, Diane. “Importance of a Healthy Support System in Weight Loss.” Diane Carbonell Weight Loss Expert. N.p., 09 Sept. 2011. Web. Retrieved 09 Apr. 2016.