Healthcare Insider Blog

New report shows obesity at an all time high: What can DNP students do to help?

  • Healthcare Alvernia

Last month, The Lancet released the most comprehensive analysis of body mass index (BMI) yet, indicating that the number of obese people, worldwide, has surpassed the number of those underweight, and has risen over the past 40 years from 105 million people to 641 million.

 Health issues increase with a higher BMI

The report also predicts that, at the current rate, by the year 2025 about 44 percent of Americans will be obese.

Among the wealthier nations, the U.S. has the highest BMI for both men and women, a common health issue addressed by nurse practitioners in the patients they serve on a daily basis.

Obesity is not an isolated health issue, but it can put a patient at greater risk for other health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and even cancer.

“To avoid an epidemic of severe obesity, new policies that can slow down and stop the worldwide increase in body weight must be implemented quickly and rigorously evaluated, including smart food policies and improved health-care training,” explains senior author of the study, Professor Majid Ezzati from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, London, UK.

Improved training for nurse practitioners and other health care professionals on best practices for the prevention and treatment of obesity is essential and the impact they can have on a patient’s motivation to lose weight is great.

In a report by The American Nurse Practitioner Foundation, authors share that patients are more likely to try to lose weight and to have greater weight loss success if their health care provider has been the one to recommend it.

The report also shares several evidence-based strategies that nurse practitioners can use to advance their knowledge and improve their clinical practice when treating obese patients, from assessment and treatment techniques to how to start the conversation about weight management.

Other resources Adult-Gerontology and Family Nurse Practitioner DNP students can use in preparing to treat this patient population are a list of American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors award-winning features published by The Journal for Nurse Practitioners. These articles offer insight to nurse practitioners, covering topics from barriers to weight-loss counseling, to the ties between depression and obesity to the effects of exercise of stress, discussing patient groups from adolescents to college students to adults.

Alvernia Doctor of Nursing Practice students are also required to take courses such as NUR 601: Health Promotion, where they will use previously acquired knowledge to introduce preventative health concepts and health promotion principles to promote and preserve wellness lifestyles in client populations, including patients suffering from obesity.

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