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Obesity: CHOA Makes a Stand

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NCCI published an excellent study about a year ago regarding the increased risk of disabling injuries as a result of obesity.  According to NCCI, “the study concludes that there are systematic differences in the outcomes for obese and non-obese claimants with comparable demographic characteristics. The study also concludes that there is greater risk that injuries will create permanent disabilities if the injured worker is obese.”
Based on the cases in which PRIUM has intervened with our clinical review services for complex claims, it’s clear obesity is the most common (and most complicating) co-morbidity, particularly among those struggling with tolerance, dependence, or addiction to prescription narcotics.  The frustrations we encounter in trying to deal with the condition among injured adults are for another post.  The best long term solution to the problem lies in prevention, namely a focus on rectifying childhood obesity. 
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) has developed an ad campaign around the issue of childhood obesity that is, let’s just say, pointed.  (Full disclosure: Children’s is a former consulting client of mine and there are precious few organizations on the planet that I think more highly of than CHOA).  The organization is breaking new ground with this campaign, however, and it’s ruffled a few feathers both locally and nationally.  Georgia has the second highest rate of childhood obesity in the nation and the Children’s hospital that takes care of these children has decided to hit the issue head on.
Some notable taglines from the print and television ads:
“Being fat takes the fun out of being a kid”
“Stop sugar-coating it, Georgia”
“It’s hard to be a little girl… if you’re not”
Gut wrenching stuff.  My view: I’m supportive.  I think this is the kind of direct, tough talk that’s needed to begin to fix the problem. 
What do you think?  And will the ads make a difference in the long run?   
Michael

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cindy ingram 01/17/2012 06:32:19
I think like most issues, positive and negative traits begin with the family genes and modeled behaviors - nature/nuture. And I do not believe a campaign can address either effectively regarding weight. But much like the anti-smoking messages started in early education years, maybe it will have some affect on kids though I don't know how they will do this without adding to the overweight child's already uncomfortable position in society. Too bad we don't have this much concern about bullies and then maybe we COULD talk honestly using words like "overweight" - NOT "FAT" (what educated idiot came up with using that term in this campaign?). And as far as WC considerations I think that is bogus - or mute. Some people eat much much less than I, yet I remain slim. Why?
I can't let a medical profession that not too long ago saw true alcholism as a character disorder and homosexuality as a mental illness tell me what other people can help and not help.Some people's eating habits result from medical anomolies and/or being emotionally "damaged" -- no different than the individual with a physical or mental disability. I can't really see a campaign like this geared toward people with disabilities - can you? I see people who are too skinny as well and I can't believe undernourishment -
smoking, lack of exercise, low calcium, etc., etc.,can aid in healing from a work injury either.
So maybe we should adopt an initiative that only accepts excellence. Perfect weight, height, eye sight, attention capability, hearing, bone density, balance, etc. Sounds familiar doesn't it? None of us is perfect - we are people - not machines. I'm not a religious person, but I do believe there is some underlying morality in united we stand and divided we fall. We're all in this together - except for the oil industry, prescription companies, politicians, corporate mogels, gangsters - you get the idea.
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