Health Task Force encourages doctors to screen for obesity, and urge patients to lose weight

The U.S. Preventive Services Task force on Monday released a new report urging physicians to take a more active role in addressing the obesity epidemic in the United States.  According to the new guidelines, doctors are encouraged to screen for obesity when meeting with their patients.

Even though it’s standard practice to measure weight and height upon arrival at the doctor’s office, many doctors aren’t taking the final step of using those measures to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI).  A BMI of 30 or greater indicates that a patient is obese.   This is often about 30 pounds overweight for the typical adult.

As an additional step, the new guidelines also recommend that physicians direct their patients to programs to help lose weight.  Even though sounds like an obvious point, it was absent from previous guidelines.  This is a much needed step in the right direction.

The USA Today has a nice summary of the new guidelines.