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FAQ > Obesity > Every doctor I see comments on my weight and starts a discussion about my needing to lose weight. Why are all these doctors focusing now so much on weight when they didn't do this before?

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Every doctor I see comments on my weight and starts a discussion about my needing to lose weight.  Why are all these doctors focusing now so much on weight when they didn't do this before

Obesity, particularly the obesity that begins in childhood, is a problem of epidemic proportions in the United States.  The simple fact of being overweight, obese, or morbidly obese makes other medical disorders worse and greatly drives up the cost of medical care in the United States.  Obesity also increases sickness in the work place and days lost from work.  In the aggregate, the economic impact of obesity is staggering.  As a short list, being overweight increases the risk of heart disease, vascular disease, some cancers, sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease, developing a fatty liver, cirrhosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, and degenerative arthritis of the knees and hips.  The Federal government and many medical specialty societies are calling on all physicians to evaluate their patients for obesity and to intervene whenever possible by encouraging people to east less and exercise more.  In fact, the Federal government requires all physicians to evaluate the level of obesity each year at the first time of the year the doctor sees the Medicare patient, and if a person is obese, to counsel and document in the patient's medical record the counseling efforts taken to get the Medicare patient to enter a formal weight reduction program.  In 2007, there were financial incentives for physicians to perform this requirement; now, there are financial penalties for not doing this.