Our Community’s Obesity Fatigue and a Forum to Renew Discussions

Despite spending billions on obesity efforts, the adult obesity rate for Kentucky continues to rise. Source: Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

When the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative (KHC) was formed in 2003, obesity was one of its first three community health priorities selected by members. Over the last 15 years, the KHC has lead a comprehensive worksite wellness pilot program and a worksite fitness tracking program called Kentuckiana Metro on the Move to address obesity. In recent years, the KHC has focused much of its efforts around healthcare quality and cost but has never lost sight that obesity contributes to many of the health issues facing our community.

Obesity has been one of Kentucky’s top priorities for two decades. With the seventh highest adult obesity rate in the nation, according to “The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America,” Kentucky’s rate has increased from 13 percent in 1990 to 34 percent in 2016. There has been an enormous amount of effort by many stakeholders on this issue with few improvements. Employers and communities have spent billions on wellness initiatives, yet few feel their investment has produced results.

No one disputes that tackling obesity is an important issue, but there is fatigue on the topic. To renew the conversation, eight business coalitions across the country, including the KHC, are hosting events on obesity through a grant from the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchasing Coalitions (NAHPC).

The KHC will be hosting its community forum, Obesity Fatigue: The Myths, Facts, Treatments, Benefits Coverage, and Paths Forward, on June 5, 2018 at the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Dr. Andrew Brown, Assistant Professor of Indiana University’s School of Public Health, will discuss how to separate obesity hype from fact. His recent work involves investigating myths and presumptions in nutrition and obesity literature. The event will also feature a panel of experts discussing the following treatment perspectives:

  • Functional Medicine – Dr. Carl Paige, MD, Medical Transformation Center
  • Bariatric Surgery –John S. Oldham, Jr., MD, Baptist Health
  • Pediatrics – Julia Richerson, MD, Pediatrician, Family Health Centers
  • Diabetes Prevention – Steve Tarver, CEO, YMCA

The panelists will also discuss benefits coverage of obesity treatment and community dialogue about paths forward.

Be sure to register for the forum here.