ICYMI: Health Equity Coalition for Chronic Disease Applauds New Initiative by ACP Calling for Equitable Access to Obesity Treatment
- The past year has seen several leading medical organizations and advocates raise alarm about the obesity crisis. The announcement from the American College of Physicians (ACP) follows calls for equitable access to obesity care from the American Medical Association, the American Medical Women’s Association, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, the American Gastroenterology Association, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology, the former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Antonia Novello, the Congressional Tri-Caucus, and the Health Equity Coalition for Chronic Disease.
- The obesity crisis is at an all time high. “ACP’s obesity care initiative comes at an important time, as the prevalence of obesity continues to increase, now impacting more than 42 percent of the U.S. population.”
- Obesity is a chronic disease that does not have a simple solution. “ACP recognizes that obesity and health equity are not simple issues with easy, clear solutions. Plans for the new initiative include … resources to help diffuse and dispel levels of misinformation and forms of bias which have centered around the topic.”
- The lack of comprehensive solutions for obesity care disproportionately harms marginalized communities. “The exclusive focus on individual behavioral change in treatment paradigms disadvantages the disadvantaged. Effective behavioral intervention/change requires discretionary time and financial resources.”
- We can solve the obesity epidemic by dispelling stigma, centering science and equity: “With focused efforts, we are confident we can ensure equitable access for patients and help counter public misinformation about the causes of obesity, the stigma around it and the equity issues around how it’s treated.” — Ryan Mire, M.D., MACP, president of ACP
American College of Physicians Announces Initiative to Advance Equitable Access to Obesity Care
SAN DIEGO, April 28, 2023 – The American College of Physicians (ACP) announced today a new initiative aimed at advancing equitable access to obesity care. ACP plans to utilize physician education, advocacy, and partnerships to advance a stigma-free culture in which patients and clinicians collaborate to prevent and manage this increasingly common chronic condition, to ensure equitable access to care for patients and to help counter public misinformation about the causes of obesity, the stigma around it and the equity issues around how it’s treated. The announcement was made at a press conference held at the San Diego Convention Center during ACP’s Internal Medicine Meeting 2023.
Participants in the press briefing included: ACP President, Ryan D. Mire, M.D., MACP, a practicing internal medicine physician in Nashville, TN; Christina Wee, M.D., MPH, ACP Vice President and Senior Deputy Editor, Annals of Internal Medicine; and Davoren Chick, M.D., FACP, ACP Chief Learning Officer and Senior Vice President, Medical Education.
ACP’s new initiative will expand upon and complement existing organizational efforts and resources on obesity management. Internal medicine physicians regularly encounter challenges related to obesity in patient care, and ACP recognizes that obesity and health equity are not simple issues with easy, clear solutions. Plans for the new initiative include developing new clinical guidelines and recommendations on obesity, and expanded physician education resources to help diffuse and dispel levels of misinformation and forms of bias which have centered around the topic.
Health equity is a central tenant of ACP’s policy and advocacy efforts. ACP advocates for improving high-value and comprehensive health care for all members of society in ways that move us closer to health equity. This includes addressing disparities in health and health care and social determinants of health to improve patient care and promote health equity. Inadequate access to nutritious food negatively impacts the health of many Americans, which in turn can significantly exacerbate food and nutritional insecurity and other social factors impacting health. ACP advocates to address food and nutrition insecurity so that all persons have access to nutritious and healthful foods, to strengthen the federal food-insecurity response and empower physicians and other medical professionals to better address those social drivers of health occurring beyond the office doors.