Health Insurance Providers

Insurance FormHealth insurance providers have an important role to play in obesity prevention, from covering preventive services to supporting community-wide obesity prevention efforts.

Here is a summary of obesity prevention recommendations for health insurance providers, based on a review of expert guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine, America’s Health Insurance Plans, and others. For more detailed guidance on these recommendations and ideas for putting them into practice, explore the source list and the links to other resources.

Cover obesity-related services such as assessment, prevention, evaluation, treatment, and follow-up, and streamline reimbursement procedures (1,2,3,4,5)
Provide subscribers incentives for maintaining healthy body weight or adopting healthy behaviors, such as charting regular physical activity (3,6)
Measure and track progress in body mass index screening, through Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) data collection (6,7)
Fund obesity prevention efforts in the community, and/or participate in community obesity prevention coalitions (3,6

Health Insurance Providers—Source List

1. Barlow SE. Expert committee recommendations regarding the prevention, assessment, and treatment of child and adolescent overweight and obesity: summary report. PediatricsOpens in New Window. 2007;120 Suppl 4:S164-92.

2.White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity. Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity within a Generation: White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report to the PresidentOpens in New Window: White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity; 2010.

3. Koplan JP, Liverman CT, Kraak VI, eds. Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies PressOpens in New Window; 2005.

4. The Obesity Society. Position Statement: Solutions — Eradicating America’s Obesity EpidemicOpens in New Window. Silver Spring: The Obesity Society; 2009.

5. Childhood Obesity Action NetworkOpens in New Window. Expert Committee Recommendations on the Assessment, Prevention and Treatment of Child and Adolescent Overweight and Obesity; 2007.

6. America’s Health Insurance Plans. Facing the Challenge of Unhealthy Weight: Recommendations for the Health Care CommunityOpens in New Window; 2008.

7. National Committee for Quality Assurance. HEDIS 2009 Summary Table of Measures, Product Lines and ChangesOpens in New Window. Washington, D.C.:National Comittee for Quality Assurance; 2008.

Terms of Use

The aim of the Harvard School of Public Health Obesity Prevention Source Web site is to provide timely information about obesity’s global causes, consequences, prevention, and control, for the public, health and public health practitioners, business and community leaders, and policymakers. The contents of this Web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site. The Web site’s obesity prevention policy recommendations are based primarily on a review of U.S. expert guidance, unless otherwise indicated; in other countries, different policy approaches may be needed to achieve improvements in food and physical activity environments, so that healthy choices are easy choices, for all.

Terms of Use

The aim of the Harvard School of Public Health Obesity Prevention Source Web site is to provide timely information about obesity’s global causes, consequences, prevention, and control, for the public, health and public health practitioners, business and community leaders, and policymakers. The contents of this Web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site. The Web site’s obesity prevention policy recommendations are based primarily on a review of U.S. expert guidance, unless otherwise indicated; in other countries, different policy approaches may be needed to achieve improvements in food and physical activity environments, so that healthy choices are easy choices, for all.