Addressing Obesity as a Disease
For the past few decades, employers/purchasers have been challenged by effectively addressing obesity, a condition with serious health and economic consequences that is now being called an epidemic. Obesity contributes to rising rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other complications, but it is not diagnosed, treated and covered like other medical conditions.
The National Alliance has developed a multi-faceted approach to engage multiple stakeholders in addressing obesity. This initiative has a longer-term focus of producing meaningful impact in the health of our populations through education, policy, population/community health, and treatment. An online portal was developed to share resources and best practices. A helpful guidebook outlining a multi-stakeholder approach to address obesity as a disease was developed and used with a set of matching grants that brought together 10 coalitions from across the country to have half-day programs for employers, health plans, and providers to rethink obesity solutions in their markets.
Our Path Forward
With a renewed focus on the employer community, follow-up activities give employers access to more “real-world” information on the costs and benefits of coverage, so they can make more informed decisions for the health of their populations.