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This Issue: Chronic Disease Care | Table of Contents: Spring 2017 | Download this issue

New Initiatives | Announcements

'Weight Management in the VHA' SOTA Conference

A healthy lifestyle is key to effective weight management.  
<em>(Photo: ©iStock/udra)</em>
A healthy lifestyle is key to effective weight management. (Photo: ©iStock/udra)

A healthy lifestyle is key to effective weight management. (Photo: ©iStock/udra)

In 2016, VA's Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) sponsored a state of the art conference titled "Weight Management in the Veterans Health Administration." The overall goal was to "describe a more integrated system-wide approach to improving weight management for Veterans," said Dr. David Atkins, acting deputy chief research and development officer for VA.

A special Supplement of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, funded by HSR&D, includes findings from the conference—including several original papers—and summaries from three workgroups that met to independently address different treatment options for weight management in the VHA.

Attendees reviewed behavioral therapy, drug treatments, and bariatric surgery as treatment modalities for weight loss. During the meeting, researchers from separate workgroups met to discuss ways to integrate all three weight-management approaches.

In light of the increasing prevalence of obesity both in the VHA and the United States, the researchers maintain that a population-health approach to weight management is essential.

"A unique and pressing opportunity in the the adoption of a population-based approach to ensure that the 65 to 70 percent of patients who are eligible for weight loss interventions are matched with the right treatment based on their needs," said Atkins.

The VHA offers three main weight-management interventions: the MOVE! Weight Management Program, a behavior counseling program that aims to increase physical activity and healthy eating; weight-loss medications; and bariatric surgery.

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