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Coalition of Organizations Take Pledge to Provide Obesity Prevention, Treatment to Millions of Individuals

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Bipartisan Policy Center, Alliance for a Healthier Generation Develop First-ever National Initiative Supporting Healthy Weight Change at Every Age

Washington, D.C.– Today healthcare leaders across the nation, including private and public payers and employers, are taking the My Healthy Weight pledge to offer obesity prevention and treatment for individuals of all ages. With more than one in three U.S. adults overweight or living with obesity, this first-ever collaboration is taking serious action to tackle one of America’s most challenging and costly public health concerns. Each year, obesity care costs nearly $210 billion to the nation’s health care system.

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Under the My Healthy Weight initiative:

  • Individuals with a BMI of 30 or higher will have access to at least 12 visits a year with a healthcare professional to support healthy weight.
  • Individuals with a BMI of 25 or higher and specific cardiovascular health risks and children with at-risk BMIs will be offered visits with healthcare professionals.
  • Eligible individuals will also have access to community-based programs that have a proven ability to support healthy weight in adults or children.

Founding members of the My Healthy Weight initiative include:

  • State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
  • Blue Shield of California
  • Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan
  • Connecticut Department of Social Services
  • Delaware Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance
  • Nestlé
  • South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

“Healthy weight is medicine that our country needs right now,” said Donna E. Shalala, board member and former president and CEO of the Clinton Foundation. “Through this collaborative, millions of individuals will receive crucial, lifesaving support from trusted healthcare professionals to prevent and treat obesity. Support delivered in the spirit of partnership. Support that lifts people up to live healthier lives.”

“Each founding member in My Healthy Weight is a leader in the fight to combat this national public health crisis,” said Howell Wechsler, EdD, MPH, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “By covering obesity prevention and treatment for members of all ages, they are taking a bold action to support better health at the most fundamental levels. This proactive, preventive initiative will make our entire healthcare system better and will improve millions of lives.”

“Healthcare is changing rapidly in America, and prevention is too often an afterthought or left out of the conversation entirely,” said Dr. Anand Parekh, BPC chief medical advisor. “The founding members of My Healthy Weight are putting a historic stake in the ground to say that they value obesity and chronic disease prevention, which represents a fundamental and long overdue shift in the way we think about healthcare in this country.”

My Healthy Weight is an expansion of the work Healthier Generation has done to develop public-private partnerships focused on reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity. In 2009, Healthier Generation assembled a coalition of national medical associations, leading private insurers, and employers to offer comprehensive health services to children for the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity, called the Healthier Generation Benefit. Under that initiative, 2.9 million children received preventive guidance and treatment to live healthily. The success of the program was profiled in the Journal of Obesity and The Journal of Pediatrics.

The work also puts into action policy recommendations issued by BPC, Healthier Generation, and the American College of Sports Medicine that have called for the need to adequately reimburse for effective, evidence-based behavioral therapy and community-based interventions that address overweight and obesity. BPC has also worked with many partners to issue the Provider Competencies for the Prevention and Management of Obesity to ensure that all healthcare providers are adequately trained to prevent and treat obesity.

Healthier Generation and BPC developed this public-private initiative with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. A detailed description of the My Healthy Weight pledge is available here. Health organizations interested in the initiative can learn more by contacting info@innovatinghealthcare.org.