“Most people know that being overweight or obese is unhealthy, and if you eat too much that contributes to being overweight. But just telling people there’s a problem doesn’t solve it.” — Dr. James Krieger, Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington, cited in the New York Times, American Adults Just Keeping Getting Fatter
Recent data published in the Journal of the American Medical Association show that obesity rates in America continue to rise despite the fact that the dangers of obesity are well known. In a New York Times’ article covering the report, journalists Matt Richtel and Andrew Jacobs note, “Public health experts said that they were alarmed by the continuing rise in obesity among adults and by the fact that efforts to educate people about the health risks of a poor diet do not seem to be working.”
Education alone isn’t enough
As the article points out, “While the latest survey data doesn’t explain why Americans continue to get heavier, nutritionists and other experts cite lifestyle, genetics, and, most importantly, a poor diet as factors.”
Lifestyle choices, like maintaining a poor diet, are not changed by education alone. Those choices are the products of complex behaviors. Changing those behaviors is the key to improving health.
Proactive behavior change is the key to improving health outcomes
At Vera Whole Health, we’re experts in behavior change because we've trained every member of our staff to drive it. In fact, our entire model is built around behavior change. Here’s why it works:
We use empathetic listening to meet patients where they’re at and to understand their goals and barriers to better health. Our full-time health coaches then step in to guide patients through their goals and act as advocates for their behavior change successes. Over time, health coaches teach patients to take ownership of their own health and drive them toward self-efficacy. As patients accomplish their personal goals for better health, they become more self-directed and can continue making health decisions in other aspects of their life.
Education is an essential part of behavior change, but it’s not an end-all cure to the problem of poor lifestyle choices. If obesity rates in America are to change, we need to change our behaviors. We all know it’s a problem. It’s time to change the way we’re fixing it.