The public is divided about the role of the government in tackling obesity. While the majority opposes the idea of government action, more than half (54%) support some measures to fight obesity. The SNAP program includes an education component focused on nutrition. Increasing the amount of physical education and expanding Medicare coverage of weight loss counseling are two measures with broad support and strong opposition. Here’s a breakdown of the public’s views on obesity reduction proposals.
SNAP education component focuses on nutrition
SNAP’s education component focuses on nutrition for us government’s goal of achieving calorie balance and healthy eating. The goals are in line with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the My Plate food guidance. The SNAP-Ed component also aims to reduce obesity. The SNAP-Ed toolkit includes over 100 success stories from 26 states. These stories provide the foundation for the framework indicators in the toolkit.
SNAP-Ed is a federal/state partnership aimed at educating low-income SNAP participants. In North Carolina, it is the Food and Nutrition Services Department. The states can carry out nutrition education through the SNAP program and receive reimbursement from the United States Department of Agriculture. They typically use public health organizations, local health departments, or contractors to deliver the program. But, the SNAP-Ed program is not just for the poor; it also helps people with disabilities to eat healthily.
Limiting sugary drinks in restaurants
While New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has championed the new ban, it has been challenged in court by the beverage industry. The industry argued that the city should have gone through elected city council members before imposing the ban. State Supreme Court Justice Milton A. Tingling Jr. called the new rule “arbitrary,” adding that some exceptions were granted on “suspicious” grounds and undermined the intent of the rule. Tingling also expressed concern over the health department’s “virtually unlimited” powers. He added that Bloomberg’s “vision of this mandate would create a Leviathan.”
In addition, many people don’t realize that too much sugar in their diets leads to a host of health problems, such as obesity and diabetes. The New York City Health Department says sugary drinks are a big contributor to the problem. Studies have shown that a high sugary drink intake correlates with increased weight and obesity rates. The New York City Board of Health is scheduled to vote on the new law on June 12.
Expanding Medicare’s coverage of weight loss counseling
A recent proposal would expand Medicare’s coverage of weight loss counseling to patients with a body mass index of 30 or higher. Under the proposal, weight loss counseling would be provided every other week to patients for five months. After they lose 6.6 pounds, they would then receive six additional sessions a month. The bill is unrated by the Congressional Budget Office, but advocates say it should go forward. Medicare covers behavioral therapy from a primary care provider, but the primary care physician has limited time and training to provide intensive counseling.
Currently, Medicare covers three types of treatment for obesity: screenings by a primary care provider, intensive behavioral therapy (IBT), and weight loss surgery. However, these treatments must be medically necessary and prescribed by a doctor. Furthermore, coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act are narrower than those under Medicare. In order to qualify for Medicare’s coverage, the program must first be prescribed by a doctor, but the health plan must provide preventive care. This does not include any type of anti-obesity medications, or any other types of evidence-based behavioral interventions.
Importance of physical education in curbing obesity
Despite the fact that preventing youth obesity is a public health priority, physical education remains a marginalized practice. In fact, energy expenditure during PE classes is derived from several factors, including the size of the class, mean student mass, and duration. Although the amount of energy spent during PE classes varies greatly, NASPE recommendations are generally higher than those set by state governments. For example, elementary school children who participated in PE activities expended about 1.56 times as many calories as those in high schools with average state guidelines.
The need for physical education is clear. It can reduce the incidence of obesity by encouraging children to participate in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. According to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, the number of children who exercise is directly related to their weight and body mass index. Moreover, physical activity reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular disease. In addition, physical education programs can improve people’s mental health and reduce the likelihood of depression and other health problems.