A July 2015 New York Times article reported that Americans’ eating habits are finally changing for the better. The average daily caloric intake for American children is down 9%. The amount of full-calorie soda consumed by the average American has dropped 25% since the late 1990s. These improvements are not limited to certain demographic groups, as subsets of Americans based on income, race and other demographic factors are pretty much all making progress.
It’s encouraging news, but do these figures mean we’ve solved the obesity challenge in the U.S.? Unfortunately, no. According to the CDC, more than a third of Americans (36%) are still considered obese, and no state has an obesity rate that is less than 20%.
The TeleVox Healthy World report The Obesity Epidemic: Unhealthy Habits Result in a Growing Problem for Americans found that both patients and their providers are aware of the challenge. 78% of Americans said they could benefit from losing weight right now, and more than half of all Americans (52%) currently describe their weight as overweight or obese. The number grows when looking at obesity from the providers’ side, as 97% of providers reported that many of their patients could do a better job of managing their weight.
So how do we get there? Managing our diets is a great step, but improved provider-patient communication could also play a major part in the solution.
61% of Americans said they would be interested in and/or happy to receive communications from their doctor with tips on how to manage their weight, and nearly a fourth (24%) reported that communications from their doctor between office visits, such as emails, text messages, or phone calls, would help them better manage their overall health. Opening the door for better and more frequent communication with doctors is important, as information, education and support received between visits can help people make lifestyle changes to better manage their weight and overall health.
Are you prepared to give patients this level of guidance beyond the exam room? Click HERE to learn how providers are effectively communicating with patients about diet and lifestyle recommendations.