NPR recently published two Interesting articles about weight loss and obesity with some implications for behavioral health professionals. “Americans Are Using More Prescription Drugs: Is Obesity to Blame?”, published on 11-3-15, discusses a recent Harvard study finding a significant increase in use of prescription medications by American adults. The researchers theorize that this increase is likely to be driven by the rise in obesity, with increases in co-occurring medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Another study referenced in this article found that spending on medications as increased by over 10% from 2013 two 2014. Given the behavioral and lifestyle components of obesity and co-occurring conditions, this sort of research provide support for behavioral professionals who can provide specialized services for help people with these conditions and to provide integrated care with their primary medical providers.
Another NPR report, “Weight Loss at This and Help Young Adults Shed Pounds, published on 11-5-15, reports on a study done at Duke University with some discouraging findings; the Duke program developed what sounds like a creative app to help young adults lose weight, and tracked the results for two years. The study participants who used these smart phone app did not lose any more weight Than the two other groups, one of which had personal coaching for six weeks followed by monthly phone contact, and a control group which received only handouts about weight loss. This study may deflate some enthusiasm for smart phone apps and healthcare, but it does support the need for comprehensive, multimodal wellness approach to obesity. The article notes that 35% of American young adults are categorized as obese.