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Advisory Panel Urges Reimbursement for Obesity Counseling Programs

Earlier this week, the US Preventive Task Force (USPTF) recommended that clinicians screen all adults for obesity and refer patients with a BMI over 30 to intensive weight management counseling. The recommendation may lead private insurers to cover intensive obesity counseling, broadening the scope of preventive services covered by insurance companies.

According to Kaiser Health News, “What’s new is its finding that weight loss programs are effective if they last at least three months and include multiple strategies such as counseling about behavior change, nutrition and physical activity.”

Which programs will be covered is yet to be determined. However, knowing what constitutes a successful obesity counseling program is still helpful, said Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, chair of preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “Having this guidance is really important, and my hope is that it will push forward greater reimbursement of these programs,” said Dr. Lloyd-Jones, to Kaiser Health News.

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