outlook: OBESITY epidemic

Author: Susan Farley

Euros for Kilos

The mayor of Varallo in northwestern Italy hopes to motivate his residents to lose weight by offering money for kilos lost. Men will receive 50 euros (about $70) for losing 4 kg (9 lb) in a month's time, and women will receive the same amount for losing 3 kg (7 lb). If the residents keep the weight off for a month, they will receive another 200 euros (about $280). In Italy, 35% of residents are overweight or obese. Mayor Gianluca Buonanno commented, "Lots of people are saying, ?I really need to lose some weight but it's really tough.' So I thought, why don't we go on a group diet?" No word yet on the town's collective weight loss and payout.

Most Cases of Obesity Not Diagnosed or Treated

A review of 9827 medical records at the Mayo Clinic revealed that most obese patients do not receive formal weight-management plans from their doctors. The records from between November 2004 and October 2005 included 2543 obese patients, only 505 of whom had their obesity formally documented. The obese patients, who tended to be older and male, were less likely to be properly diagnosed. However, patients who were morbidly obese, had diabetes mellitus, or had obstructive sleep apnea were more likely to receive a formal diagnosis and 2.5 times more likely to receive a treatment plan.