Forget personal accountability. A Federal health advisory panel recommends that those who are overweight should go to counseling.
The recommendation, which is to be printed in the Annals of Internal Medicine, states that those wishing to lose weight should be involved in “intensive, multicomponent behavioral interventions.”
The panel suggests 12 to 26 counseling sessions that should be structured to educate the patient and identify factors contributing to the problem. Occasionally, the intervention might include exercise.
“You have to diagnose the patient and have the discussion, even if the patient doesn’t really want to hear it,” said Dr. Jack Der-Sarkissian, leader of Kaiser’s adult weight-management efforts in Southern California.
If the current healthcare law stands, Medicare and most private insurers would be required to cover such services.
But some are skeptical of the proposal’s effectiveness, noting that physicians may not have the knowledge needed to provide or refer such services to their patients.
Still others think that people should simply “cut back on the potato chips and start taking the stairs.”