Photo of doctor weighing his patientThe United States had made progress in preventing and controlling obesity through new strategies for healthcare providers, medical institutions, patients and communities, according to a report summarizing the most recent Weight of the Nation conference, published in the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other government agencies hosted the conference in May 2012 to address the obesity epidemic facing children and adults in the U.S.

“Weight of the Nation brings together public health researchers and practitioners, policy makers, and national partners devoted to obesity prevention and control to raise awareness across the country, and to share approaches that show promise or demonstrated success for improving healthy eating and active living,” reads the CDC report.

According to the report, the conference focused on three objectives:

— Creating hospital environments that support affordable healthy food and drinks, encourage physical activity and encourage mothers to breastfeed their newborns.

— Promoting self-management strategies, like including a BMI category on electronic health records, offering patients information on healthy eating and active living and referring patients to obesity clinics when necessary.

— Bridging primary care and public health, by encouraging primary care providers to lead or participate in community-based anti-obesity efforts, including those in schools and workplaces.

The nation is facing an obesity epidemic, according to the American Heart Association. One in three U.S. adults is obese, increasing their risk for high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Another third of Americans are overweight. Children are also facing health risks from obesity — about one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese, causing a broad range of health problems that previously weren’t seen until adulthood.

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