Fast food

The controversial Supreme Court ruling that upheld President Obama’s Affordable Care Act yesterday has many speculations swirling about the future of medical coverage and treatments in America. No stranger to the discussion are the nation’s obese—representing one-third of all adult Americans according to the Centers for Disease Control—and contributing significantly to the nation’s health care costs. And recommendations by the U.S. Preventative Service Task Force that obese individuals receive weight counseling per the ACA health insurance plan may play a key role in combating the crisis.

The U.S. Preventative Service Task Force recommends that any clinically obese individual—with a Body Mass Index of 30 or higher—receive counseling from their physician or referrals to programs specifically designed to promote weight loss and improve overall health. The recommendation comes after the task force reviewed medical literature that found the most successful programs in maintaining long-term weight loss were multicomponent behavioral programs that included as many as 26 counseling sessions per year either with a physician or a community program.

Medicare issued a decision in November of last year that would reimburse physicians that provided weight counseling for the 14 million clinically obese individuals that qualify.

News of the task force’s recommendations came just days before the FDA announced its approval of the weight loss drug, Belviq. It marks the agency’s first approval of a weight loss drug in more than 13 years after the popular drug Fen-Phen was pulled from the market in 1997 due to a number of serious side-effects and deaths connected with the drug.

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Image: Parker Michael Knight