Feb
12
2015

The New Era of Obesity Treatment

John Hernried, MD, FACP (pictured, left), provides some insights into what it’s like to dedicate a medical practice to treating weight loss exclusively, and how an obesity conference is an opportunity to learn the business as well as earn continuing medical education credits in the process. 

In recent years, there has been a confluence of factors that has made the business of treating obesity attractive to the medical community in the United States.

These factors include: the American Medical Association’s decision to recognize obesity as a disease in 2013; the statistics claiming millions of Americans are being classified as overweight or obese; and the rise of medical modalities to treat obesity including new medications, bariatric surgeries, and medical diets.

John Hernried, MD, FACP solely treats obesity at his practice, The Hernried Medical Weight Loss Center. Hernried and his staff take a comprehensive approach that addresses the whole person including the underlying causes of obesity with a team of providers that include dietitians, behavioral therapists, nurse practitioners, and exercise physiologists.

In addition to running a successful weight loss practice, Hernried is the course director of the 2015 Obesity Treatment and Prevention Conference that is going to be held July 23-25 in Baltimore.

Medical conferences such as the Obesity Treatment and Prevention Conference can be an excellent way for medical providers to learn, network, and begin a plan to offer medical weight loss in their practices, according to Hernried.

In this interview, Hernried talks about his medical weight loss practice as well as discussing why providers should consider attending the obesity conference this year. 

Can you talk about your practice and what you do in terms of treating obesity?
My practice is fully focused on treating obesity and the comorbidities associated with obesity, including disease states such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It’s been a practice that has been in existence for 30 years and I have been associated with the practice for the last 15 years.

We maintain a multi-disciplinary treatment model with a multiple provider care team that includes: dietitians, physicians, nurse practitioners, and exercise specialists. We all work together using several different treatment modalities, including intensive dietary therapy, behavioral management, surgery and pharmacological therapy--if it is indicated.

What made you decide to dedicate your practice to treating obesity?
I started off in primary care as an internist working in an office and a hospital. I came into practice during the "thin era," and I was taught that people with weight issues were simply lying to us. They were eating too much, not exercising, or simply being lazy. And yet, I saw the struggles of these patients including some with unmanaged diabetes, heart attacks, and other obesity-related health issues. And I would hear their stories when they came into the clinic, and I knew there had to be much more to it.

That’s when I started treating obesity as the core medical issue, and this has helped my patients with their other medical issues. Now, instead of adding new medications as part of patients’ regimens, I usually have them reducing their medications. That is a lot more fun for me when I can tell people to stop taking a medicine. 

We now know a lot more about obesity as a complex disease, and this provides me with a scientific interest in treating the disease. We have discovered some of the pathways to obesity and subsequently some newer treatments. For example, an existing diabetes medicine was recently approved for weight loss.

Can you talk about the importance of treating obesity as it relates to healthcare reform?
Yes, the obesity levels in the United States are at epidemic proportions, and they are not showing signs of improving. It is a huge cost not only to the healthcare system, but to employers. It has a dramatic effect on absenteeism in the workplace. One of the things we know is that for every dollar invested in obesity treatment it results in a four dollar return of investment in terms of reduced healthcare costs and improved productivity.

And of course there is also an immeasurable aspect to treating obesity, which is the improved quality of life for my patients.

Can you talk about the business of obesity? What are the advantages for medical providers to get into the obesity treatment field?
We know patients are searching for quality medical solutions for weight loss, and that patients really trust their medical providers. We are in an era where practices are increasingly strained in terms of revenue, and treating obesity can offer a great opportunity for medical providers to reach out to their own patients to help them lose weight and augment their practice; it can be a wonderful marriage between providers and patients.

We also see there is increasing reimbursement for obesity care, which didn’t exist before.

Lastly, there are many good options for weight management treatment, which include medications, surgery options, and medical diets.

Speaking about the business of obesity, you are the course director of the 2015 Obesity Treatment and Prevention conference, which will be held in Baltimore July 23-25. For those providers who are not currently treating obesity, but may be interested in doing so, do you recommend they attend a conference like this one?
I think this conference is ideal, because we give them an understanding of what is needed to begin a weight loss business. It also allows them to network with people who are practicing clinical weight management and can give them some insights into the business. The conference is less theoretical and more practical in terms of how to run an obesity practice.

How is this conference different from others?
This conference offers something for medical providers at every level. For those providers who are curious about offering weight management, they can come away with practical solutions to getting going; it is germane for those providers who are newer to the obesity business and have a small weight loss business already and want to learn how to grow their businesses; and it’s also for experienced providers who have been treating obesity for years, because this conference offers networking opportunities and discussions of new weight loss techniques.

There is an academic component to the conference, so continuing education is another important aspect to it.

Ultimately, we are looking to attract the interested clinicians who want to develop weight loss modalities as part of their practice and give them the direction they need at whatever stage they are in for their business development.

Registration is now open for the 2015 Obesity Treatment and Prevention conference. To register or find out more information about the conference, click here.

Interview by: John Parkinson, Clinical Content Coordinator, DiabetesCare.net.

Feb
10
2015

The "Hidden Cost" of Obesity

Obesity has turned into a billion dollar pandemic. According to a Cornell University study published in the Journal of Health Economics, the cost for obesity has been as high as $190 billion annually with no decrease in sight. Yet, beyond the obvious costs (medical bills for obesity-related conditions, for one), what about the “hidden costs” of obesity — the money that comes out of the pockets of overweight or obese individuals who might not even be aware of the money pit they’ve fallen into? Here are some examples of some “hidden costs” that can result from obesity:

More Food: It may be a simple concept, but the more you want to eat, the more food you have to buy. Even though the grocery store is where you most likely do most of your food shopping, hidden costs can come from other places — fast food, for example. Although a burger at a fast food joint may seem affordable at just a dollar or two, the amount you spend throughout the year at a drive-thru can add up quick and increase with additional eating occasions.

Bigger Clothes: More times than not, the higher the clothing size, the more expensive the clothes will be. One reason for this is that the cost of clothing rises due to the increased amount of materials needed to make it. In other words, the more the clothes cost to manufacture, the more the consumer ends up paying at the register. 

Transportation: You’d be surprised how weight affects the cost of transportation. Take airplanes for instance. In 2004, a report was published that stated that, due to the increase weight of passengers, airlines used an extra 350 gallons of jet fuel from 1990-2000. The number has since increased. Make no mistake: These additional costs are passed along to the consumer in the price of the plane tickets. And, there’s also the possibility of having to purchase a second ticket for seating depending on the policy of the airline and the passenger’s size and weight.

Work: Obesity is often accompanied by other health issues that need to be tended to and treated by a medical professional. Obesity-related illnesses contribute to absenteeism and reduced productivity, creating increased healthcare costs and negatively affecting a company’s bottom line.

These are just a few examples of the hidden costs that can come from obesity. However, just like the disease of obesity, hidden costs can be identified, controlled and reversed. It just takes a conscious effort.

Source: Harvard School of Public Health, Forbes, Daily Finance

Feb
2
2015

Get Back on Track

Here’s a scenario: You’re a month into the New Year and there’s a problem with your New Year’s resolution: You aren’t where you want to be with your weight loss. You set a goal, but at this point you’ve either stopped making progress or haven’t started at all. Anxiety might be setting in.

Don’t fret! Here are some things that you can do to regain control:


You’re still eating the same calories:
Sometimes we can be under the misconception that, just because we exercised, we can consume our regular amount of calories (or even more) and still reach our desired effect. The problem is that diet is just as important to weight loss as exercising; if you are consuming a high amount of calories, the calorie deficit benefits from exercise won’t be enough to see any significant changes in weight. Cut the calories.

Not enough volume: When adding muscle, the most important thing is to continuously add more reputations, weight, or both. The point is, as you build muscle, you must build resistance to continue to benefit. If you aren’t increasing your volume you’re leaving yourself susceptible to plateauing. Gradually add more weights and reps to your routine, but make sure you don’t overdo it. Slow and steady wins the race.

Where’s the cardio? Compared to other exercises, cardio is essential to weight loss because it allows you to burn more calories at an accelerated rate. Although JUST cardio won’t do the job, it should definitely be integrated into your regimen if you have your eyes set on losing weight. Take a walk, swim, or bike ride. Just get moving.

Get some help: If you don’t feel you are heading in the right direction, it may be a good time to call in the reserves. Whether it’s your personal physician, certified physical trainer, dietitian, or friend, there’s someone that can help you with the knowledge and support to get you back on track. You just have to look for it. Never be afraid to reach out.

Remember, falling off track or feeling like your goals are stalled is never a reason to give up completely. The sun rises each day to meet the challenges of a new morning. You can too.

Jan
28
2015

Should You Be Told What to Drink?

"All the credible evidence highlights that, as a nation, we are consuming too much sugar in our diet.”

From what you continuously hear, if I asked you what nation this person is referring to your first guess would most likely be the United States. Correct? However this quote shows that obesity is a global problem just as much as it is a domestic one.

The person that said this was Amanda Avery, the vice-chair of Dietitians in Obesity Management for the British Dietetic Association (BDA), think of them as the UK’s Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  Amanda was commenting about a statement made by the BDA suggesting new policies be implemented in an effort to stymie the over-consumption of sugary drinks throughout the United Kingdom.

Polices entailed amongst other things:

·         A range of public policies to reduce the frequency and amount of sugary drinks consumed by children and adolescents

·         Tax on sugary drinks

·         School based education programs

If this sounds familiar, it should. New York City issued a policy in 2013 on soft drinks. Even though the court of appeals denied the policy to proceed in 2014, the reasons for its implementation have a striking resemblance to our friends across the pond.  “A historic step to address a major health problem of our time," was the words of Former New York Health Commissioner, Thomas Farley.

Some may argue that there is overreaching in attempts to regulate what someone actually eats or drinks, but can it be argued that their heart is in the right place? Obesity is a growing epidemic in the United Kingdom, and over half the adults in New York City are overweight, as well as 40 percent of kids in public school. However, the “ask for forgiveness, not permission” approach may not be the best way to go about convincing people to eat healthier.

You have to wonder if efforts maybe better invested if we continue to create ways to teach people how to eat healthier and covering all bases of a healthy diet as oppose to just focusing on one part of it. What do you think?

Source: DNAinfo,  British Dietetic Association

Jan
23
2015

Couples More Likely to Lose Weight

One of the main roles of our significant other is to be our support system; it’s no different in our weight loss journey. There was actually a study done to observe the benefits of lifestyle changes in couples. What they found is more a reinforcement as oppose to a revelation, we’re more likely to make adjustments to our lifestyle and stick with them if our significant other joins us in changing their lifestyle as well.

"Unhealthy lifestyles are a leading cause of death from chronic disease worldwide. The key lifestyle risks are smoking, excess weight, physical inactivity, poor diet, and alcohol consumption. Swapping bad habits for good ones can reduce the risk of disease, including cancer,” says Professor Jane Wardle, one of the study’s authors and director of Cancer Research UK's Health Behavior Research Centre at UCL (University College London).

Lasting lifestyle adjustments can be difficult to keep up, especially if you go at it alone. However, having someone consistently providing encouragement is needed to get going and if you can provide encouragement in return it only increases the likelihood that both parties are successful. Remember, support and encouragement doesn’t stop at your significant other, don’t hesitate to include your friends or co-workers as well in this journey as well. 

Source: Cancer Research UK

Jan
16
2015

Being Overweight is Too Expensive

As if there was another reason you needed to lose weight other than improved health, a recent study showed how much damage obesity can do to your wallet. Researchers at the University of Illinois sought out to see how much health care cost differs between people that are obese and smokers compared to people that are not.

What they found is that smokers and obese patients pay as much as $1,300 more in annual healthcare expenses than their non-smoking and non-obese counterparts.

Where does the additional cost come from? “Out-of-pocket medical expenses, inpatient and outpatient care, emergency room visits and prescription drugs all contribute to the added health care expenditures, with inpatient prescriptions contributing the most,” says Ruopeng An, professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois, as well as the conductor of this study.

As we have mentioned before, obesity comes with other ailments. The unfortunate reality is when those ailments need to be treated, in ways such as doctor visits and prescribed medication; it cost money, not only in the short-term, but in the long term as well.

When you look at your $30 a month gym fee or how much you spend on produce, it pales in comparison to what the potential and realistic rising cost your healthcare may take continuing down a less healthy road. Maybe we should treat obesity as those expensive shoes or clothes we at times need to pry ourselves away from and just say “I can’t afford it.” 

Source: University of Illinois

Jan
12
2015

What a 2-Year Old Burger Looks Like

Close your eyes and envision a burger. Now envision that burger two years later. After you open your eyes click here

Is it what you thought?

What you see is a burger from McDonalds accompanied by a taco from Taco Bell that has aged two years. Dr. Jaqueline Vaughn from Vaughn Chiropractic placed the burger and taco on the counter of the reception desk, making it one of the first things people see when they enter the building. What they saw was a fairly intact meal, all things considering.

Additives and preservatives are often littered in food that we purchase from fast-food establishments. MSG, hydrogenated oil, and high fructose corn syrup are only a few examples of the ingredients that are added to the meals that increase the longevity of its shelf life and even make better tasting at times, but are unhealthy things to eat especially if not in moderation. This is one of the reasons that if you are trying to adjust your diet one of the first things you should look at modifying is how much you eat take-out foods.

Dr. Vaughn didn’t do this as a “scare tactic”, but more so to a wakeup call.  A chance to provide a visual to what additives and preservatives can do to food, food that we’re eating. In hopefully increasing consciousness of what we are eating it will help us make better food choices. Quite the interesting approach don’t you think?

Source: CBS Detroit

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    Weight loss, nutrition, diet, exercise, education, support, maintenance. Whether you're a professional looking for information about Robard's weight management programs and products or a dieter looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, read on for interesting, informational, and entertaining entries to meet your weight management needs.

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