There’s no denying that obesity is an epidemic in this country and the waistlines of Americans, both young and old, are expanding at an alarming rate. Children are especially heavier than they were years ago, with children as young as three years old becoming obese and developing juvenile diabetes. In an effort to address the growing problem of pediatric obesity, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder plans to direct doctors in his state to begin monitoring the body weight of their young patients and provide the data to a new state registry, in one of the most extensive government efforts to date.
The governor is hoping to use this initiative, which is said to be the first of its kind, to help track the state’s growing obesity problem while opening the way for doctors to be more proactive in offering advice. Doctors will anonymously submit body mass index statistics for patients under 18 to the Michigan Care Improvement Registry.
The state’s top health official in charge of overseeing the registry, Olga Dazzo believes the initiative is a step in the right direction in addressing Michigan’s obesity issues and the effects on health care and quality of life. “It’s moving in the wrong direction,” Dazzo said of the state’s obesity percentage. “If we don’t do something about this, it’s only going to get worse.”
According to a recent Associated Press article:
The new reporting requirement Snyder’s proposing will make weight screening more likely to be a part of every child’s medical care. About 800,000 Michigan children are considered overweight or obese based on height and weight, 12 percent of the total. Rates for adults are much higher, with around 30 percent of Michigan adults considered obese and 35 percent considered overweight, on reason Michigan ranks as the eighth fattest state.
While the initiative is still fairly new and it will take some time before the results of this effort can be seen, the hope is that parents and doctors will be able to catch the warning signs of obesity earlier and have meaningful discussions about nutrition, which are important steps in managing and hopefully eliminating pediatric obesity.
Sound Off: What are your thoughts on Michigan’s new obesity initiative?