In part one of this two-part blog series, we looked at some of the negative trends that are increasingly showing up as a result of obesity in the USA. Sadly, obesity in America has led to issues like lower life expectancy, higher healthcare costs and more – but efforts are also constantly being made to help curb this epidemic and limit obesity around the nation.
At AGA Clinical Trials, we’re happy to serve one important role here within the Miami community: Conducting clinical trials on many conditions that researchers and medical professionals need to learn more about, including currently enrolling obesity trials and many others. Today’s part two of our series will look at some of the current approaches to limiting obesity that past research have led us to.
Reducing Processed Food Consumption
One key initiative that’s been in place for many years, and which was initially spurred by research showing that many processed and pre-packaged foods can contain unhealthy levels of sugar, salt and fat, is to reduce the consumption of these types of foods. Some solutions that have been implemented in recent years include providing healthier school lunch options for students, such as replacing sugary snacks with fruits and vegetables.
Additionally, some restaurants are transitioning away from their traditional menus and offering more nutritious options, such as salad bowls or vegetarian-friendly dishes. This is also seen in the grocery store aisles, where stores are stocking more health-conscious items for consumers to choose from.
Increasing Physical Activity Levels
Another widely accepted approach to reducing obesity is to increase physical activity levels among the population. To this end, many cities are investing in public spaces like parks and bike trails to encourage people to exercise outdoors. Additionally, the government has implemented initiatives such as the “Every Kid Outdoors” program, which can help kids explore their natural environment and stay active.
For adults, many of today’s companies have also started putting wellness programs into place, such as offering discounts on gym memberships or providing standing desks for their employees.
Lastly, there is also technology that can be used to help monitor physical activity and calorie intake, such as wearable fitness trackers.
Screening for Risk Factors
Because obesity can have serious health consequences, it’s important to screen for potential risk factors so that those at risk can be identified and receive necessary interventions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends that individuals between the ages of 18-39 get their Body Mass Index (BMI) checked every four years, or more frequently for those who are at a higher risk of obesity. Additionally, some medical professionals are now starting to utilize tools such as the HEDIS criteria or even genetic tests to screen for potential risk factors in patients.
Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities
Finally, it’s important to recognize that obesity is not distributed evenly across the population. Studies have shown that certain racial and ethnic groups, such as African Americans or Latinos, are more likely to be obese than other populations. Thus, there must be an effort made to address these disparities in order to ensure that everyone has access to healthy food options and exercise opportunities.
Obesity is a serious issue that requires a multifaceted approach to addressing it. Fortunately, with the help of research and initiatives like those mentioned above, we can start to make positive changes in our communities and work towards reducing obesity levels in the USA.
AGA Clinical Trials is proud to be a part of this effort, helping researchers get the data they need to make more informed decisions. To learn more about this or any of our enrolling clinical trials in Miami, FL, speak to our team today!