The latest science shows that obesity is a complex disease that generally requires medical treatment. At the same time, three hundred thousand El Pasoans struggle with obesity.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention defines obesity as a Body Mass Index (BMI) at or above 30 for an adult. Unfortunately, only a handful of healthcare providers – nationwide – know how to treat this condition. El Paso has been no exception…until now.
In 2018, the Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living (IHL) at the University of Texas at El Paso, with funding from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, created two exciting new training programs for healthcare providers and exercise professionals.
These training programs were developed to revolutionize obesity treatment in the region and serve as an example of how medical obesity management can change lives.
There are very few models currently available nationally to train health professionals in obesity management. Obesity is a complex problem because it can be caused by a variety of factors, which may be dependent upon a person’s age, gender, genetics or a multitude of other interconnected elements.
This poses a challenge for healthcare providers, as there is no outright solution to the issue of rising obesity rates.
“Building an Exercise Toolbox for your Patient or Clients with Obesity” is a series of workshops that target professionals who work in the exercise field, such as personal trainers, physical therapists, exercise physiologists and others.
Participants gain basic knowledge of the exercise programming adaptations to consider when working with adults with obesity and how to safely begin an exercise program. Specific goals, considerations and health outcomes to focus in the clinical, home-based, and community settings will be addressed, with an emphasis on developing practical, tailored, everyday approaches to help patients or clients safely and effectively engage in exercise prescriptions.
The workshop is geared towards exercise professionals but is open to members of the public and healthcare professionals. The next workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, February 6. Click here for more information.
The second program, “Practical Obesity Management Course” is a partnership with the IHL and MetaboLogix, which features intensive instruction from a group of internationally renowned obesity experts.
This first-of-its-kind obesity management course targets practical, applied training of multi-disciplinary teams of providers who work together and/or are part of a referral network because, as a complex disease, obesity management requires a multi-disciplinary approach. Attendees include physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and dietitians.
I’m proud to say that, because of the commitment from local healthcare providers who took part in the training, El Paso now has one of the highest obesity provider-to-patient rations in the country. Through the efforts of the IHL and the Health Foundation, El Paso is a model city for medical obesity management training which can revolutionize obesity treatment, not just in the region, but nationally.
If you are an exercise or healthcare professional in the region, who would like to attend the February 6 workshop or if you would like more information about obesity, obesity management and future training courses, contact the Institute for Healthy Living at The University of Texas at El Paso at 915-747-6449.
Author: Jana Renner, Program Officer, Paso del Norte Health Foundation