Obesity - Quality of Care
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Obesity

More than 35 percent of American adults are obese, and about 17 percent of children are obese. This translates to more than 78 million adults and 12.5 million children. More than 7 in 10 Veterans who receive VA care are either overweight or obese.

Obesity is a risk factor for heart disease, type 2 diabetes (once known as adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes), stroke, and some types of cancer. In particular, diabetes and obesity have become a very prevalent combination.    Learn more.

VA’s Obesity Accomplishments:

• Establishing a relationship between the production of the hormone ghrelin and gastric bypass surgery
• Showing that gastric banding leads to a reduction of diabetes symptoms
• Adapting existing materials on exercise to help spinal-cord-injured Veterans exercise safely and lose weight
• Finding that bariatric surgery in older males does not significantly decrease death rates

Below is a news story that illustrates VA’s commitment to advancing technology and research initiatives to benefit our nation’s Veterans.

Researchers with VA and other institutions are studying the health care experiences of overweight and obese people, including the extent to which they face bias, stigma, and discrimination. (©iStock/Zerbor)

Researchers with VA and other institutions are studying the health care experiences of overweight and obese people, including the extent to which they face bias, stigma, and discrimination. (©iStock/Zerbor)  

Do doctors dislike overweight patients?

Probing the roots and results of obesity bias in health care

"You could walk in with an ax sticking out of your head and they would tell you your head hurt because you're fat."

Health care policy advocate Ted Kyle, who blogs at conscienhealth.org, cites this remark, posted as a comment to a New York Times story, as emblematic of the feelings of many overweight people.

Kyle says many such patients feel judged by their physicians. They believe their doctors see them as lazy, undisciplined—and totally responsible for their own weight gain. All other health issues become somehow tied to their extra weight. One unfortunate result of this dynamic is that if these patients fail to shed pounds per the doctor's expectations—and admonitions—they may just stay home when it's time for their next check-up, rather than deal with the feelings of shame.   Read more..