Every healthcare professionals training toolbox must include the skills to counsel patients about obesity prevention and lifestyle change. Actions speak louder than words, so its important for clinicians to model healthy eating and active lifestyles. They can also be strong advocates for obesity prevention efforts in their communities.
Here is a summary of obesity prevention recommendations for healthcare professional associations and healthcare professional advocacy, based on a review of expert guidance from the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, 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.
Healthcare Professional Training and Associations
Require training in obesity prevention and lifestyle counseling, such as (1,2,3,4)
- Interpreting BMI percentile for age
- Counseling on nutrition and physical activity
- Motivational interviewing skills
Distribute position statements and other evidence-based information on obesity prevention (2)
Encourage members to be role models for healthy eating and activity (2)
Healthcare Professionals as Advocates
Serve as leaders and role models, within ones practice and community, to encourage healthy changes in physical activity, nutrition, and the built environment (2,4,5,6)
Advocate at the practice, professional organization, local, state, and federal levels for policy and built environment changes that promote healthy eating and physical activity in child care settings, schools, after-school programs, and communities (4,7,8,9,10)
Encourage parents to advocate for environmental changes that promote physical activity in their childrens schools and communities (11)
Healthcare Professional Training and Advocacy-Source List
1. 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 President: White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity; 2010.
2. Koplan JP, Liverman CT, Kraak VI, eds.Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance.Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press; 2005.
3. The Obesity Society. Position Statement: Youth Weight Bias and Discrimination in Healthcare Settings. Silver Spring: The Obesity Society; 2010.
4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon Generals Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation 2010Rockville: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General; 2010.
5. American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness and Council on School Health. Active healthy living: prevention of childhood obesity through increased physical activity. Pediatrics. 2006;117:1834-42.
6. Lets Move. Healthcare Providers Take Action. Accessed February 3, 2012.
7. Davis MM, Gance-Cleveland B, Hassink S, Johnson R, Paradis G, Resnicow K. Recommendations for prevention of childhood obesity. Pediatrics. 2007;120 Suppl 4:S229-53.
8. Gartner LM, Morton J, Lawrence RA, et al. Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics. 2005;115:496-506.
9. Barlow SE. Expert committee recommendations regarding the prevention, assessment, and treatment of child and adolescent overweight and obesity: summary report. Pediatrics. 2007;120 Suppl 4:S164-92.
10. Childhood Obesity Action Network. Expert Committee Recommendations on the Assessment, Prevention and Treatment of Child and Adolescent Overweight and Obesity; 2007.
11. Tester JM. The built environment: designing communities to promote physical activity in children. Pediatrics. 2009;123:1591-8.