Archive for April, 2022

Tennessee Health Insurance – Can it Help With the State’s Fight Against Obesity?

April 11th, 2022

Based on three years worth of data for 2007, 2008 and 2009, Tennessee had the dubious distinction of being rated as the second worst state in the nation for obesity among adults. Only Mississippi was rated worse than Tennessee’s 31.6 percent ranking, which was tied by Alabama.

A 2010 report from the Trust for America’ Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has now confirmed Tennessee as the second worst state for obesity.

Far from being benign, obesity is among the key risk factors contributing to a growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes. According to the manager of the Step ONE obesity prevention program, John Bilderback, children as young as five have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. That disease had been known as “adult-onset” diabetes.

Obesity Highest in States with Epidemics of Type 2 Diabetes

The link between diabetes and obesity is so strong that the top 10 states for adult diabetes are among the top 14 states with the greatest obesity problems. As you might suspect, Tennessee is the third worst state in the country for having a high rate of diabetes.

This escalation in obesity has been relatively recent. Back in 1991, no states had obesity rates over 20 percent. Today almost two-thirds of the states have rates over 25 percent.

Researchers Are Changing How Doctors Look at Obesity

From the University of Alberta in Canada, obesity expert Dr. Arya Sharma has been working with a researcher from Northwestern University in Chicago. They’re redesigning the classification system that doctors use in treating obesity.

The researchers hope to replace the body mass index or BMI and guidelines for waist size because both were based on population studies. That means they don’t provide a complete picture of individual patient health.

An increase in body fat by itself is not a reliable indicator of related problems, which may include cancer, depression, diabetes, fatty liver disease, kidney disease, osteoarthritis and sleep apnea.

The outcome of the Edmonton Obesity Staging System has been a new classification divided into five stages of obesity. Beginning with an initial stage 0 or an absence of obesity-related problems, this system scales up to stage 4.

It’s a simple system that allows doctors to more easily categorize where their patients fit into the scale based on a physical exam, medical history, and testing for blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

New Understanding of the Severity of Obesity-related Disease

The new system delves into something that has been lacking in common approaches of the past. That’s the severity of risk factors for obesity-related diseases.

It’s hoped that a more thorough approach will help doctors prioritize treatment and make more accurate determinations regarding which patients can benefit from medical and surgical interventions. How useful this is to doctors is being tested at Alberta Health Services’ adult Weight Wise clinic.

Getting doctors up to speed with better assessment tools is only half of the solution. The other part involves a massive public awareness movement to get people to realize how obesity can endanger their health cutting their lives short at an early age.

Health Insurance in Tennessee is Key to Make the New Approach Effective

With the new system, doctors can more accurately evaluate how obesity is degrading a patient’s health. Obesity doctors are becoming more common across the nation today, but patients must have health insurance in Tennessee to access help from doctors.

Obesity can escalate the risk of life-ending diseases, such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, stroke and cancer. That makes it crucial for residents of Tennessee to not only learn more about how doctors can help to protect their health, but also more about low-cost Tennessee health insurance options to make that care affordable.

By Wiley Long – President, – Tennes