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Posted on September 10, 2013 by West Corporation 


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TeleVox Report Exposes The Reasons Behind The Growing Obesity Epidemic That Is Plaguing The Nation

As obesity rates rise, TeleVox technology makes communication between healthcare providers and patients easier, promoting a healthier and trimmer America

  • Gain Control: 78 percent of Americans said they could benefit from losing weight right now.
  • Coming Up Short: The average American has attempted to diet or lose weight nine times in their life, and just 37 percent reported being completely successful with an attempt to lose weight.
  • Seeing Eye to Eye: 90 percent of Americans—and 97 percent of providers—believe that diet and exercise, and not genetics, are the biggest causes of obesity.
  • Loosening the Belt: According to the American Medical Association, the U.S. could have obesity rates above 44 percent by 2030 if current trends continue.

Just over three-fourths (78 percent) of Americans said they could benefit from losing weight right now, according to a Healthy World Report released today by Televox Software, entitled The Obesity Epidemic: Unhealthy Habits Result in a Growing Problem for Americans. Unfortunately, it can’t be blamed on the fact that American’s aren’t trying. The average American has attempted to diet or lose weight nine times in their life, and just 37 percent reported being completely successful with these attempts.

With the American Medical Association classifying obesity as a disease, the thought of trimming American’’ waistlines is on the minds of both healthcare providers and patients. Luckily, the majority of Americans (90 percent) believe that diet and exercise, and not genetics, are the biggest causes of obesity. Implementing wellness plans that incorporate proper diet and regular exercise can lower obesity rates, but it does take work.

Better interaction between patients and their healthcare providers is the first step. Sixty-one percent 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 percent) 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.

The Obesity Epidemic shines light on the fact that obesity across the nation is a growing issue. In fact, in 1990, the CDC reported that no state had an obesity rate higher than 15 percent, and 10 states had an obesity rate lower than 10 percent. Currently, 61 percent of Americans feel that obesity is a significant problem in the United States. And the epidemic is spreading, as 21 percent of Americans report that they have experienced obesity in their life, and 51 percent say they could do a better job of managing their weight. Talking to a doctor, sticking to a healthy diet and exercising regularly can all help in the struggle against obesity.

“It is time that Americans across the nation look in the mirror and ask themselves what they can do to become healthier,” said Scott Zimmerman, President of Televox Software “As the obesity epidemic continues to gain momentum, it is important that Americans understand the health concerns that come along with obesity and begin to take action. Taking time to talk with your healthcare provider about how to implement a proper wellness plan is important. By becoming more educated and engaged on the topic, more Americans are likely to succeed in managing their weight.”

An Epidemic Across Genders

It is no secret that women tend to put others’ needs and commitments ahead of their own. Unfortunately, this is leading to high obesity numbers among women. The Obesity Epidemic: Unhealthy Habits Result in a Growing Problem for Americans reports that nearly two-thirds of women (62 percent) said that obesity in adults is a significant problem in America. And, according to the Center for Disease Control, 36.2 percent of women are obese, contributing to a total obese population of close to 78 million total adults. But fighting obesity involves more than just a number on a scale. It requires a certain mindset and long-term behavior changes. When women fail to take time to get themselves on the right path, they won’t be able to effectively ensure their family members are also making healthy lifestyle choices.

It doesn’t stop with just women. The fix-it mentality of men has led many to believe they can solve every problem. Unfortunately, weight management is one area where many men aren’t finding solutions. According to The Obesity Epidemic, 47 percent of men report they could do a better job of managing their weight. And as the CDC reports, the obesity rate among men increased from 27.5 percent to 35.5 percent in the last decade — a massive jump in just 10 years. Men have noticed the increase, as 60 percent think that obesity in adults is a significant problem in the U.S.

On the bright side, both men and women understand what needs to happen to see a change for the better. According to The Obesity Epidemic, more than half of both men and women (64 percent and 56 percent) would be interested in and/or happy to receive communications from their doctor with tips on how to manage their weight. And even though just a quarter of Americans have taken that step, this indicates that providers can make a difference in the fight against obesity by using technology to engage patients between office visits. Opening the lines of communication can lead to a healthier America. A smaller waistline, for sure.

“It is time for healthcare providers to work hand-in-hand with men and women to get this disease under control,” Zimmerman said. “Until patients and doctors start working together to develop long-term wellness plans that provide patients with the support to stick to these plans, we are going to continue to see obesity increase at an alarming rate.”

An Ageless Epidemic

After decades of increasing incidence in America, obesity has now been labeled as a disease that is responsible for millions of hours of lost time, billions of dollars of additional healthcare spending, and adverse effects on the health of countless Americans of all ages. From children to the elderly and everyone in between, our nation is facing a serious epidemic. And, unfortunately, not a lot is currently being done to control these issues at any age level. Success in the fight against obesity relies on forward-thinking practitioners that empower patients in every age group in making the necessary lifestyle changes to ensure a healthy future.

According to the CDC, obesity among Americans is up 50 percent in the last two decades, affecting almost 78 million adults. Led by the oldest group surveyed, The Obesity Epidemic: Unhealthy Habits Result in a Growing Problem for Americans highlighted the fact that more than half of Americans currently describe their weight as overweight or obese: Fifty-two percent of 45-54 year olds, 51 percent of 35-44 year olds and 44 percent of 18-34 year olds reported currently being overweight or obese. But these numbers also highlight that none of the younger age groups are learning from the older generations’ struggles with obesity. Younger adults can look forward to a future filled with more health issues and higher medical bills if changes are not made.

Luckily, all generations feel there are steps that can be taken to solve this epidemic. The solution can be a simple change in eating habits or adding in a workout three days a week. But talking with a doctor is also an integral part of creating a wellness plan. Healthcare professionals have seen the epidemic grow. They also have seen people successfully change their lifestyle to combat the disease. And many Americans want to open the lines of communication with their doctors. According to The Obesity Epidemic, more than half of Americans (68 percent of 18-34 year olds, 60 percent of 35-44 year olds and 63 percent of 45-54 year olds) said that they would be interested in and/or happy to receive communications from their doctor with tips throughout the year.

Additionally, nearly a third of all Americans—33 percent of 18-34 year olds, 32 percent of 35-44 year olds and 18 percent of 45-54 year olds—said that communications from their doctor between office visits, such as email, text messages, or voicemails, would help them better manage their overall health. It is no longer enough for people to talk with their doctors at a yearly checkup. Rather, they want and need to hear from their healthcare providers with health tips and various other communications between office visits in order to be empowered to take control of managing their own health.

“We owe it to our children to find solutions that lead to better weight management,” said Zimmerman. “This epidemic is not the legacy that we want to leave to future generations.”

East Coast to West Coast, and All of it Between

The single fastest growing health issue in America is the increase in our waistlines. Obesity is an epidemic that is affecting all ages in all regions of our country. It is felt in from the lakes of Minnesota down to the swamps of the Deep South. It hits both coasts and is being battled by Americans in the heart of the country. Unfortunately, many Americans know the answer to this struggle, but aren’t taking the necessary steps to combat it. The good news? The cure starts with conversations with doctors, and simple changes involving a healthy diet and more exercise. The cure is in the hands of every American across the nation.

As The Obesity Epidemic reports, more than three-fourths of all regions across the nation said they could benefit from losing weight right now, led by 82 percent of the Midwest. Additionally, nearly two-thirds of the nation—again led by 66 percent of the Midwest—feel that obesity in adults is a significant problem in America. The good news is that the majority of all Americans believe that diet and exercise, and not genetics, are the biggest causes of obesity. Communicating with doctors and healthcare providers across the nation is a great first step to reverse the obesity trend and lead to a healthier America.

It is important for doctors and healthcare providers to initiate conversations encouraging their patients to implement an effective wellness plan that includes a healthy diet and regular exercise. Using high-tech communication, including taking advantage of mobile devices and social media, can help doctors better reach their patients. Currently, according to The Obesity Epidemic, Southerners lead the pack in the desire to discuss their health with their doctors. Almost two-thirds of Southerners (63 percent) said they would be interested in and/or happy to receive communications from their doctor with tips to help manage their weight. And the other regions aren’t far behind. Providers need to start the dialogue and communicate with patients more regularly, opening doors for greater interaction throughout the year, not just at annual checkups.

Creating a Healthy World

No matter your age, gender, or location, preventive action will not only improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs, but it will also improve quality of life and save lives. Patients want to be involved in their care, but need the tools to stay educated, encouraged and motivated to follow through for their own health. Text messages, phone calls and emails from physician get patients’ attention while providing this desired support and involvement.

Increasing patient communication efforts will require forward-thinking healthcare practitioners who understand that their continued involvement is critical to ensuring a healthy future for our patients. Many physicians understand that engaging patients between office visits can inspire them to embrace and build the habits to follow through with treatment plans. They know personalized, ongoing engagement can activate positive lifestyle changes that will help people lead healthy lives.

Media Resources

  • Download the full report for a deeper look at the findings: www.televox.com/resources/healthy-world
  • To arrange an interview with Scott Zimmerman, President of TeleVox, to discuss these study findings in more detail, please contact Robby Trail from Jones PR at robby@jonespr.net, or by calling 402-507-5094.

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