WHO figures show that more people die worldwide from being overweight or obese than from being underweight. Over 2.8 million adults die worldwide each year from being overweight or obese. In addition obesity is responsible for many of the worlds fastest growing diseases, such as diabetes and ischaemic heart disease.
Today’s edition of The Lancet has a focus on obesity, including papers predicting the future increase of this problem, and the concomitant increase in cost of healthcare provision. There are also suggestions for policy changes, including a ‘fat tax’ on unhealthy foods, restrictions in advertising and working with children and families to encourage a change in lifestyle.
Meanwhile, in the US Veteran Health Administration, as part of the Care Coordination Home Telehealth programme, there has been development of a specific programme for weight management, known as TeleMOVE!
The TeleMove programme uses a telehealth system which allows both weight measurement and participation in education programmes in the patients home, and the programme is managed by a care coordinator, who supports the patient through the programme, setting goals with the patient and building a treatment plan to reach these goals.
It is still early days, so little evidence is available about effectiveness of the programme, however it is hoped that this will be a cost-effective way to manage patients to help them return to a healthy weight, and reduce the burden of long-term conditions.