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Raffa SD, Maciejewski ML, Zimmerman LE, Damschroder LJ, Estabrooks PA, Ackermann RT, Tsai AG, Histon T, Goldstein MG. A System-Level Approach to Overweight and Obesity in the Veterans Health Administration. Journal of general internal medicine. 2017 Apr 1; 32(Suppl 1):79-82.
Healthcare systems are challenged by steady increases in the number of patients who are overweight and obese. Large-scale, evidence-based behavioral approaches for addressing overweight and obesity have been successfully implemented in systems such as the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). These population-based interventions target reduction in risk for obesity-associated conditions through lifestyle change and weight loss, and are associated with modest weight loss. Despite the fact that VHA has increased the overall reach of these behavioral interventions, the number of high-risk overweight and obese patients continues to rise. Recommendations for weight loss medications and bariatric surgery are included in clinical practice guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity, but these interventions are underutilized. During a recent state of the art conference on weight management held by VHA, subject matter experts identified challenges and gaps, as well as potential solutions and overarching policy recommendations, for implementing an integrated system-wide approach for improving population-based weight management.