January 2009 MedBytes: Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

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Tex Med . 2009;105(1):64.  

Texas has a weight problem. A recent report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranks the Lone Star State 15th for its number of obese residents. The resources here will help physicians counsel their young and adult patients on healthy lifestyle modifications that will help them drop the pounds and improve their lives.

TexasMedical Association
TMA's Web site  offers physicians an opportunity to learn best practices in treating obese patients from other skilled health care professionals. Informative slides and handouts are available. The resources are helpful in assessing obesity and its associated health risks; reviewing strategies for promoting weight loss; outlining methods health professionals can use to address the problem of overweight and obesity at school and community levels; and formulating proper treatment plans with physical activities, diet and behavioral modifications, and medications.

AmericanAcademy of Pediatrics
As more children are becoming obese and overweight, caring for them is now a dominant part of many pediatricians' practices. The Overweight and Obesity section of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Web site,  www.aap.org/obesity , is easy to use and features a comprehensive  Health Care Providers  page. Eight PowerPoint obesity presentations developed by physicians can be viewed online. And to aid in determining the proper coding for obesity-related health care services, the  Obesity Coding Fact Sheet  [ PDF ] is a handy resource. The Health Care Providers page also includes links to more information about campaigns and initiatives supported by AAP. For an outline of international, federal, state, and community initiatives related to obesity, click on Advocacy from the main menu.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
For physicians who want to promote healthy lifestyles in their offices and communities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a plethora of information. From the home page,  www.cdc.gov , select  Healthy Living . Click on  Physical Activity and Exercise , and choose the link to resources for health professionals. From there, you can connect to a physical activity statistics database and read a review of the effectiveness of selected community-based interventions designed to increase levels of physical activity. You can also download the  2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Toolkit , which provides science-based guidance to help Americans improve health through appropriate physical activity. Select the  Nutrition Resources for Health Professionals  link to access the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, information about an initiative to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, and weight management resources.

Partnership for Prevention
Recognizing the impact obesity is having on the nation, Partnership for Prevention has resources and fact sheets related to activity and nutrition. From the home page,  www.prevent.org. The Web site features resources that cover screening for obesity, a guide to establishing a community-based diabetes self-management education program, information about obesity-related deaths, and action guides to improve community health. Open the  Action Planning for Chronic Disease Prevention  PDF for advice on enhancing in-school physical education, increasing access to places for physical activity, promoting healthy foods in schools, increasing access to healthy foods in communities, and ensuring access to clinical preventive services.

Texas Department of State Health Services
Physical activity and nutrition strategies are part of the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) plan to reduce the direct and indirect costs of obesity on the state and to improve residents' health. Visit  www.dshs.state.tx.us/obesity  to learn more about the department's nutrition strategies, which include increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, controlling meal portion sizes, decreasing sugar-sweetened beverages, balancing food intake with a person's activity level, and encouraging mothers to breastfeed. The department's physical activity efforts include training community health workers to increase exercise along the Texas-Mexico border and forming the Texas Active Living Network to develop opportunities for regular, daily physical activity in communities. 

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest to Texas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site. If you know of some interesting medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, e-mail crystal.conde@texmed.org. Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.  



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