Obesity has emerged as a top health threat for the United States and for Louisiana. The Louisiana Council on Obesity Prevention and Management, along with the Department of Health and other education and health professional organizations, has created a supplement to the Journal of the Louisiana State Medical Society. The supplement will be available to all members in early January. It will provide continuing education credits for Louisiana Medical Society members and appeal to all health care providers as front-line fighters in the state’s battle against obesity.

In the past, medicine has focused more on diseases caused by obesity, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases, orthopedic problems and depression, than on the prevention and treatment of obesity itself. The supplement asks doctors to treat obesity as a disease rather than just treating the complications of obesity.

“Our health care system cannot sustain itself under the burden of a younger and younger population with chronic diseases caused by obesity,” said LDH Secretary Dr. Fred Cerise. “Prevention and treatment of obesity itself has to be undertaken by health care providers if we are to make any inroads into this problem.”

According to C. Virginia Moore, Coordinator of the Louisiana Council on Obesity Prevention and Management, “Obesity has not traditionally been considered a great priority in medical schools and other health science education centers, so the supplement is intended to provide ‘catch-up’ education in that area.”

Louisiana physicians, educators, researchers, dietitians, psychologists and exercise physiologists who are specialists in the field of obesity prevention and treatment prepared the supplement.  The editors include Dr. Claude Bouchard, Pennington Director; Dr. John N. Udall Jr., Chairman of the Obesity Council; C. Virginia Moore RN, FNP, Coordinator of the Obesity Council; and Barbara A. Norton, LSUHSC Pediatrics.  

Once all Louisiana Medical Society members have received the supplement, The Louisiana Council on Obesity Prevention and Management will provide paper copies to other stakeholders and make it available on its Web site at www.oph.dhh.louisiana.gov. The supplement will also be used as the basis to develop toolkits for preventing and treating obesity in the primary care setting.