WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 25, 2012 – The Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance today released a new bulletin for state leaders that offers information on ways to integrate obesity into a state's essential health benefits package. The release of the latest "Weight and the States" Bulletin coincides with the formation of the Alliance's new State-Level Member group, organized to provide a forum for state health leaders to share information and insights on addressing obesity, overweight and weight-related chronic disease at the state level.
"While the work to address obesity is a national concern, much of the urgency to combat the many health and financial consequences is felt at the state level," said Scott Kahan, director of the STOP Obesity Alliance. "The STOP Obesity Alliance State-Level Member group was formed to advance collaboration across the states and create another channel for disseminating possible strategies for overcoming our nation's obesity epidemic...one state at a time."
The latest "Weight and the States" Bulletin, a quarterly report series, provides information for states that are working to establish an essential health benefits package. The guidance from the George Washington University obesity research team is based on recommendations the Alliance's Essential Health Benefits Task Force developed last year and sent to the Institute of Medicine and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services regarding what should be included for treating obesity and related co-morbidities. The recommendations emphasize that weight-related interventions should not be treated differently than those for any other health condition. The Bulletin also provides information on the benchmark plans for the exchanges.
Eight organizations largely comprised of state government agencies are the Alliance's inaugural State-Level Members and become a part of the Alliance's growing membership that includes nearly 70 consumer, provider, government, labor, business, health insurer and quality-of-care organizations. The Alliance's Steering Committee and Government Liaison members continue to drive the Alliance recommendations and research initiatives, content that will benefit tremendously from input of the new State-Level Members, according to Kahan.
The Alliance held its first State-Level Member teleconference in June. Members include: American Heart Association, Office of State Advocacy; Georgia Department of Public Health; Medicaid Health Plans of America, Center for Best Practices; Mississippi State Department of Health; National Academy for State Health Policy; Nebraska Medical Association; and Virginia Department of Health, Central Virginia Health District.
About the STOP Obesity Alliance
The Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance is a collaboration of nearly 70 consumer, provider, government, labor, business, health insurer and quality-of-care organizations working to drive innovative and practical strategies that combat obesity. The Alliance receives funding from founding sponsor, Sanofi. For more information, visit www.stopobesityalliance.org and follow the Alliance on Facebook and Twitter.
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