The Diabetes Cure Most Insurance Won’t Pay For… More Likely to Find Obesity in the Country than in the City…Obesity and Fertility…Prescribing Diets Instead of Medications for Diabetes…Different Consumer Perceptions of Diet and Exercise
Bariatric Surgery in the News
The Diabetes Cure That Most Insurance Companies Won’t Pay For (Gizmodo)
The story describes a patient who has been in a losing struggle with diabetes for 15 years. Despite being on a restrictive diet and taking regular insulin shots, in 2013, the then 39-year-old software engineer at Microsoft suffered a heart attack. Three years later he would have gastric bypass and the surgery would give him “something few of the 30 million diabetic Americans have – a life free of insulin therapy and other medications.” He told the publication, “My diabetes went into remission basically immediately, almost the same day. And I’ve been off insulin for about 8 months now. It’s not only improved my health, but my mental state, because I don’t have to fear death all the time.” What makes this an “unusual” bariatric surgery patient is that he didn’t have obesity. He had a BMI of 28. The patient says, “through a lot of back and forth, nagging and whining, I convinced (Microsoft’s) HR department to overhaul their policy and allow people in my situation to get the surgery done.” Many doctors and surgeons are starting to agree that surgery should be considered more than a “last-resort remedy” for weight loss. Instead, it should be seen as a crucial aspect of diabetes care, and quite possibly the best tool we have against the chronic, often worsening condition.” The article describes guidelines from the 2nd Diabetes Surgery Summit where “we think the degree of endorsement we got represents the highest degree of consensus of any clinical practice guidelines ever crafted in medicine and surgery,” said David Cummings, a senior investigator at the University of Washington’s Diabetes & Obesity Center of Excellence. Despite this, “the major stumbling block, is getting anyone (insurers) to pay for it.”
Obesity in the News
Obesity Rates Higher in Country Than City (The New York Times)
Obesity is more common in rural areas than in cities, according to two new studies published in JAMA. The two analyses, one of adults and the other of children, used data on weight, height and where people lived from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). About 38 percent of women living in urban areas with a population greater than a million had obesity, as did 42.5 percent of those living in urban areas smaller than a million. But in rural areas, the obesity rate for women was 47.2 percent. Rates for men showed a similar, although not identical, pattern — 31.8 percent in large urban areas, 42.4 percent in small metropolitan areas, and 38.9 percent in rural regions. There was no significant difference in obesity rates in children living in urban or rural regions, but severe obesity was significantly higher in rural areas — 9.4 percent, compared with 5.1 percent in cities with populations greater than a million.
Lifestyle Changes can help Obese Women Improve Fertility (Reuters)
Although obesity can significantly decrease a woman’s ability to get pregnant, losing weight through diet and exercise, can improve her odds, according to a research review in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The study authors concluded programs that promote weight loss through lifestyle change, rather than bariatric surgery or medications, are preferred and can increase the chance of spontaneous pregnancy. “It is important that women are aware that they may jeopardize their reproductive health if they are obese and should consider improving their lifestyle,” said senior author Dr. Jean-Patrice Baillargeon of the University of Sherbrooke in Canada. The research finds that the risk of infertility increases 27 percent in women who are overweight, and 78 percent in women who have obesity.
Diabetes Defeated by Diet: How New Fresh-Food Prescriptions are Beating Pricey Drugs (CNBC)
Instead of relying solely on drugs for treating diabetes, Geisinger Health System is trying something new: writing prescriptions for certain patients to enter its “Fresh Food Farmacy” program. The program consists of 15 hours of education about diabetes and healthier living, followed by 10 free nutritious meals a week for participants and their families. The program, which started 18 months ago, targets people with diabetes and food insecurity. On average, patients in the program have seen their A1C levels drop from a pre-enrollment level of 9.6 percent to 7.5 percent. Spending on diabetes drugs in the U.S. reached $53.7 billion last year, more than double what it was in 2013. Early findings show the costs for patients in the food program dropped by 80 percent: from an average of $240,000 per member per year, to $48,000 per member per year.
Why Obese People have Trouble Losing Weight (HealthDay via UPI)
A new survey from the Hudson Institute’s Food Policy Center in Washington, DC finds people with overweight and obesity hold starkly different views on diet and exercise than their peers with “normal weight.”The 2,000 respondents of the survey fell into four categories: having a healthy weight (BMI 18.5-24.9); somewhat overweight (BMI 25-27); mostly overweight (BMI 27.1-29.9); and having obesity. While 44 percent of the healthy weight group said that health and nutrition was a top three concern when buying food, only one third of those with obesity felt the same. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of the respondents with obesity admitted knowing they should eat healthier but not doing so. Cost was cited as a reason for not buying healthier food by nearly half of both the ‘mostly overweight’ group and the group with obesity. As for exercise, the investigators found one quarter of the group with obesity never exercised, compared with only 15 percent of the ‘healthy weight’ group.