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ACOG: Ob-Gyns Should Make Obesity Prevention a Priority

Urban women in particular face environmental challenges to maintaining body weight

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 22 (HealthDay News) -- A committee of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is recommending that practitioners take 12 specific actions to help women, especially those in urban areas, achieve and maintain a normal body weight and physical fitness. The committee opinion is published in the October issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

More than one-fourth of U.S. women are overweight, and more than one-third are obese, the Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women writes. The committee published the recommendations because of the increasing need to address not only the specific individual needs of these women, but also the barriers to physical activity and healthy eating, referred to by social scientists and urban and public health planners as the "built environment."

According to the committee opinion, women in urban areas are especially vulnerable to becoming overweight or obese because of limited resources for physical activity and healthy food choices. The recommendations range from using motivational interviewing techniques to encouraging patients to consider shopping at farmers' markets to advocating for development of a free wellness program at the practitioner's hospital.

"Addressing obesity and lifestyle behaviors during a busy clinical office session is challenging to the obstetrician-gynecologist," the committee writes. "[These recommendations] can help initiate a dialogue about lifestyle modifications between the patient and her physician."

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