Fighting Obesity with Medicare

medicare obesity

How Obesity Affects You—and What You Can Do

Obesity is a major health problem in our country, and one that can affect your health in many ways. More than one-third of elderly in the U.S. are obese, and the American Medical Association recognized obesity as a disease in 2013. This status as an ailment and not simply a lifestyle urges healthcare professionals to address the issue more deeply, and to offer actionable plans for patients to get healthy.

What does Medicare Cover?

Medicare Part B covers obesity screening and counseling for those with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. The counseling must take place with a primary care doctor. Gastric bypass surgery is covered by Medicare in some cases if you meet the conditions of morbid obesity.

Risks of High BMI

Older obese people have a higher risk for hospitalization, ICU care, and a shortened life expectancy. They are at higher risk for conditions like physical disability, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. There is another less obvious risk factor: doctors may be biased against obese patients due to some difficulties inherent in treating them.

Medicare obesity prevention
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Tips for Staying Healthy

If you are struggling with obesity, it’s good to note than you can take small steps to better health. Don’t feel like you have to change everything all at once. Once you have reached a certain BMI, it can be harder to take the weight off, but there is hope. Recent studies show that weight loss combined with both aerobic and resistance (weight training) exercise was the most effective way to improve function in older obese adults. Here are some more tips for maintaining a healthy weight:

  • Keep a diary of what you eat. Writing down what you eat can make you more aware and watchful over time.
  • Eliminate sodas. Cutting down on this sugary treat is an easy fix to much better health.
  • Eliminate fast food. Cutting out the fries this is a must for those at risk for obesity.
  • Take baby steps. Again, don’t burn yourself out thinking you have to change everything today.
  • Limit portion size. Eating smaller portions can be better for you overall over time.
  • Limit red meat. Too much red meat, especially processed meat, can lead to cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, and shorter lifespan.
  • Seek physical therapy if needed. PT can help with your exercise plan until you are able to do more on your own.
  • Take walks. It doesn’t matter how fast, just stick to this simple exercise.
  • Lift weights. Resistance training helps muscles and bones retain strength as you age.
  • Drink lots of water. Water will renew your body and keep you hydrated.
  • Eat more protein. Eggs, cheese, nuts, fish, pork, beans, and soy products are good examples.

 

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Medicare doesn’t cover everything. Luckily, those on Medicare can now start saving on out of pocket expenses like prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing, and more. Over 1 million people have already received their free Medicare Plus Card.

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Medicare World Editorial Team
The Medicare World editorial team works diligently to make sure our stories are informative, unbiased, and of utmost relevance to our readers. Our team of researchers and writers presents the best and latest information on all things Medicare, including legislation, enrollment rules, changes in coverage and costs, and health information. We enjoy keeping our readers up-to-date and helping them navigate the often-complicated Medicare maze.

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