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Obesity Numbers Rising in Canada: What can Healthcare Providers Do?

U of M hosts IPE event on tackling this trend through everyday patient care

April 30, 2015 — 

Nearly 50 per cent of Canadians are overweight with a dramatic increase in the incidence of obesity projected for the future. We are at the tipping point where this epidemic has challenged “front line” healthcare providers to progressively intervene in cases of obese patients.

In an attempt to spearhead medical interprofessional solutions to the obesity epidemic, the Faculty of Health Sciences’ Division of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is hosting Obesity Intervention for Front-line Healthcare Providers Friday, May 1 at the U of M’s Bannatyne Campus.

During the two-session program, leaders from local professional communities (ranging from disciplines such as dental hygiene, human ecology, kinesiology, medicine, pharmacy and physiotherapy) will present their experiences with caring for obese patients, and offer ideas on how obesity intervention can be incorporated into everyday patient care. In roundtable discussions, participants will be challenged to consider specific cases and how inter-disciplinary teams can work together to more optimally intervene in the lives of those who are obese.

Participants will also learn how to determine patients’ motivation and readiness for life style modification to achieve healthy weight, and how to provide guidance in the form of simple steps, to effective weight loss.

Given the ramifications of increasing obesity rates on the healthcare system, Casey Hein, Director of Education, Continuing Interprofessional Development, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, says front-line healthcare professionals are at a crucial juncture in obesity intervention with their patients.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to change the lives of many obese patients we see everyday. However, the majority of healthcare providers feel uncomfortable talking about obesity with patients, we lack training in weight-loss counseling, we don’t know how to start the conversation, we’re afraid of offending patients, or we don’t know how to efficiently incorporate obesity prevention and intervention into the daily routine of our busy practices.”

The event is a part of CPD Medicine’s popular Friday at the University, an accredited program for primary care professionals.

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