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Report Card on Access to Obesity Treatment for Adults in Canada 2017: Recommendations



Based on the failing access to obesity care for the overwhelming majority of the 6,000,000 Canadians living with obesity in our publicly funded healthcare systems, the   2017 Report Card on Access To Obesity Treatment For Adults, released the 5th Canadian Obesity Summit, has the following 7 recommendations for Canadian policy makers:

  1. Provincial and territorial governments, employers and the health insurance industry should officially adopt the position of the Canadian Medical Association that obesity is a chronic disease and orient their approach/resources accordingly.
  2. Provincial and territorial governments should recognize that weight bias and stigma are barriers to helping people with obesity and enshrine rights in provincial/territorial human rights codes, workplace regulations, healthcare systems and education.
  3. Employers should recognize and treat obesity as a chronic disease and provide coverage for evidence-based obesity programs and products for their employees through health benefit plans.
  4. Provincial and territorial governments should increase training for health professionals on obesity management.
  5. Provincial and territorial governments and health authorities should increase the availability of interdisciplinary teams and increase their capacity to provide evidence- based obesity management.
  6. Provincial and territorial governments should include anti-obesity medications, weight-management programs with meal replacement and other evidence-based products and programs in their provincial drug benefit plans.
  7. Existing Canadian Clinical practice Guidelines for the management and treatment of obesity in adults should be updated to reflect advances in obesity management and treatment in order to support the development of programs and policies of federal, provincial and territorial governments, employers and the health insurance industry.

If and when any of the stakeholders adopt these recommendations is anyone’s guess. However, I am certain that since the release of the Report Cards, the relevant governments and other stakeholders are probably taking a closer look at what obesity management resources are currently being provided within their jurisdictions.

Given that things can’t really get any worse, there is hope that eventually Canadians living with obesity will have the same access to healthcare for their chronic disease as Canadians living with any other illness.

@DrSharma
Edmonton, AB

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