Medicare Program Hopes to Curb Obesity


December 1, 2011

Medicare announced in November that it will pay for screenings and preventive services to help recipients curb obesity and the medical ailments associated with it, primarily heart disease, strokes and diabetes.

According to the STOP Obesity Alliance, the overall costs of being overweight over a five-year period are $24,395 for an obese woman and $13,230 for an obese man. Obesity is associated with several chronic diseases that disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minorities.

The new Medicare benefits will include face-to-face counseling every week for one month, then one counseling appointment every other week for the following five months for people who screen positive for obesity. However, it doesn't cover treatment provided by dietitians and psychologists.

Americans need to understand that quality of food matters, too. It's not necessarily weight loss so much as it is increased fitness level and increased health. We all need to be more influenced by our biological needs for exercise and plant based foods and less influenced by advertising designed to sell quantities of food and convenient lifestyles.

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