It will also move us one step closer to achieving our shared goal of preventing one million heart attacks and strokes as outlined in the recently announced ‘Million Hearts’ initiative in which the American Heart Association is a proud and committed partner.
More than 72 million Americans, or 34 percent of all adults, are obese. It affects approximately one-quarter to one-third of all adults age 65 and older. Unfortunately, the number of obese Medicare beneficiaries has grown in recent years and will likely increase. The obese not only suffer from cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes, they also live shorter lives. In addition, if the rate of obesity continues to rise, healthcare costs attributable to this condition could be as high as $861 billion to $957 billion by 2030.
But we can begin to change this dire forecast with prevention and treatment. Medicare preventive services that screen for obesity, provide counseling, and include both nutrition and physical activity interventions can effectively help adult beneficiaries lose weight and live healthier lives. Recent research also indicates that physician visits, counseling, and online support can help individuals drop five percent of their body weight and maintain that lower weight.
This new Medicare benefit will go a long way to help stamp out obesity, one of this nation’s greatest health challenges, and the American Heart Association commends the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for taking this important step to fight this epidemic.”
Contact: Retha Sherrod, 202-785-7929
Director, Media Advocacy