As one of the many outgrowths of the sweeping federal health care law, health insurers and employers must now pay the cost of screening children for obesity and providing them with appropriate counseling.
With about one in three children in the United States obese or overweight, according to government statistics, the need for such programs is clear. But, experts say, creating them will be challenging. Other than intensive hospital-based programs, few proven models exist for helping children and adolescents achieve and maintain a healthier weight, and researchers do not even fully understand the factors that contributed to the rapid rise in childhood obesity in recent years. “If this were easy, if there were clear outcomes for success, we would be investing in these,” said Dr. Samuel R. Nussbaum, the chief medical officer for WellPoint, one of the nation’s largest health insurers. Read more