Public Comment of National Center for Health Research, National Women’s Health Network, and Our Bodies Ourselves for
USPSTF Draft Recommendation Statement: Weight Loss to Prevent Obesity-Related Morbidity and Mortality in Adults: Behavioral Interventions
Thank you for the opportunity to share our views regarding the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) draft recommendation statement concerning behavioral interventions for weight loss in adults.
The National Center for Health Research, National Women’s Health Network, and Our Bodies Ourselves are all nonprofit organizations that strongly support the role of USPSTF in reviewing and assessing scientific evidence about the harms and benefits of specific preventive care services to provide science-based recommendations for the public. In 2012, USPSTF made the same recommendation for behavior-based weight loss interventions with a “B” grade. Since then, researchers have published additional studies on this topic, and changes in science or medical practice could alter the benefit risk ratio. Thus, we support the USPSTF’s current efforts to re-evaluate their 2012 based on updated evidence.
Based on the draft evidence review, we concur with the Task Force that there is sufficient evidence that behavior-based weight-loss interventions for adults with obesity (BMI ≥ 30) can help patients reduce weight and decrease incidence of type 2 diabetes and elevated plasma glucose levels.
Prevention of obesity-related morbidity and mortality is an important public health issue, and providers need the most current information to help their patients. More than 35% of men and 40% of women living in the United States are obese.3 Obesity is associated with increased risk of numerous health issues, including: heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, stroke, renal disease, dementia, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and premature death.
Primary care screenings identify many patients with obesity who could benefit from behavioral weight loss interventions. As discussed in the review prepared for USPSTF, research indicates that intensive behavior-based weight loss and maintenance interventions can be effective in helping individuals lose weight and prevent weight regain. Although weight reduction was moderate, interventions were associated with meaningful health improvements, such as reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes. Importantly, the review did not identify any long-term or serious harms, so that even moderate benefits outweigh the risks.
Given the differences in BMI cutoffs and disparities between racial/ethnic subgroups and older adults, we strongly agree with the USPSTF that future research on important subpopulations should be a high priority. This information could provide insight into how different populations will benefit from behavior-based weight loss interventions.
In conclusion, we support the USPSTF draft recommendation for behavior-based interventions for weight loss to prevent obesity-related health problems and death. We further support USPSTF’s efforts to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services. As more information becomes available, we encourage the re-evaluation and potential development of additional recommendation to improve the health of individuals with weight-related health concerns.
If you have questions about these comments please contact NCHR through Stephanie Fox-Rawlings at email@example.com.
National Center for Health Research
National Women’s Health Network
Our Bodies Ourselves
- Moyer VA, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for and Management of Obesity in Adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. Ann Intern Med. 2012;157:373–378. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-157-5-201209040-00475. http://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/1355696/screening-management-obesity-adults-u-s-preventive-services-task-force
- Draft Recommendation Statement: Weight Loss to Prevent Obesity-Related Morbidity and Mortality in Adults: Behavioral Interventions. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. February 2018. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/draft-recommendation-statement/obesity-in-adults-interventions1
- Draft Evidence Review: Weight Loss to Prevent Obesity-Related Morbidity and Mortality in Adults: Behavioral Interventions. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. February 2018. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/draft-evidence-review/obesity-in-adults-interventions1