Fundacion de La Tierra
31 Jul 2015

Dr. Michael Ehrenhaus, MD and his wife Maribel, go to the Dominican Republic three to four times a year to perform eye examinations and advanced eye surgery, including corneal transplants, for no cost to the patients.

Dr. Mike and Maribel usually plan 5-7 days for each charity mission trip, and while there, perform dozens of surgeries and examinations for the local Dominican population. The patients that are examined and undergo surgery are all examined based on their need and also on their inability to pay for healthcare.

The surgeries and examinations are all performed at Clinica Corominas in Santiago with the help of Sebastian Guzman, MD. All of the surgeries and procedures that are performed utilize the latest technology and techniques that are available anywhere in the world.IMG_1083

The charity missions are to help those people that otherwise would have no access to proper eyecare and who otherwise would not enjoy the gift of sight.

Additionally, Dr. Mike and Maribel donate food to dozens of poor families in Santiago and often help distribute the food personally when they are local for a mission trip. Many of these recipients would not have had food for the next day if it was not for these donations. When they are unable to fly to Santiago, Dr. Mike and Ms. Gonzalez will purchase food to be distributed to the poor families and send it via boat from New York or have it purchased locally in the DR to help the local economy as well.

Now, the team of Mike and Maribel (M&M) have joined their forces to create the Fundacion de La Tierra. The purpose of the Fundacion is to strengthen the original goal of helping those less fortunate in the Dominican Republic gain access to eye care and eye surgeries, enable access to better education, and to help provide basic food provisions and household necessities.

Learn more about Fundacion de La Tierra at www.eyecare4ny.com. Contact them at NeustraFundacionDLT@gmail.com or 516-652-0643.

Visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/NeustraFundacion

IMG_7788     IMG_7792      ehrenhaus1

Dr. Neil Ghodadra to help Entrepreneur Jackie Wonder Launch New Drink Line
07 Jul 2015

Jackie Wonder, co-founder of Sharper Edge Sales & Marketing Group™, is introducing a new health products company, Wondermade Brands™, with Dr. Neil Ghodadra, MD. Wondermade Brands™ is making physician created and endorsed supplements, Doc’s Drinks™ and Doc’s Gummies™, and taking them to retailers nationwide. More than 200 stores have launched the products by the end of May.

Dr. Neil Ghodadra, MD, who hails from Atlanta, Georgia, and who is currently in private practice in Los Angeles, California, is serving as the Chief Medical Officer for Wondermade Brands™. Jackie Wonder is serving as CEO. Wondermade Brands™ has five medical doctors and one pharmacist on its medical advisory board for the creation of the products.

In addition to his sports medicine practice in Los Angeles, Dr. Neil Ghodadra has appeared as a medical correspondent for his medical expertise with sports injuries on the NFL Network. Wonder said of the partnership with Dr. Ghodadra, “I wanted to create a system of simple, convenient, affordable on-the-go supplements focused on helping with specific health issues. We’ve assembled a team of expert medical doctors who are advisors to our brand so we can create great supplements. We are thrilled Dr. Neil Ghodadra is leading the team.”

Dr. Ghodadra grew up in Georgia and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duke University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. While at Duke, he won several prestigious scholarships recognizing him for his academic achievements. He attended Duke Medical School where he graduated as one of the top students in his class, winning the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) honor for best thesis presentation.

Following medical school, Dr. Ghodadra completed his residency at Rush Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois under the guidance of some of the country’s leading sports medicine surgeons. After residency, Dr. Ghodadra completed the world renowned Sports Medicine Fellowship at Rush Medical Center. While there, his subspecialty training placed emphasis on cartilage restoration and joint preserving surgical techniques of the knee and shoulder, which allow active patients to continue with their athletic careers and recreational activities.

While Dr. Ghodadra was a fellow at Rush University Medical Center, he assisted the team physicians for the Chicago Bulls (NBA) and Chicago White Sox (MLB).  He also served other sports teams, including multiple semi-professional, university and high school teams in football, hockey and gymnastics. His work has been presented at more than 70 conferences throughout the world, including the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons where he won the award for best Scientific Exhibit for his work in shoulder instability in athletes.

Look for Doc’s Drinks™ products on Amazon.com and in over 200 national retail stores nationwide.

10 Amazing Vacation Destinations You May Not Have Heard About
07 Jul 2015

Summer is here, so if you haven’t already planned your vacation, consider these top ten exotic beach getaways that combine privacy, beauty, and many different types of fun.

Kamalame Cay, The Bahamas

The private island is just a 15-minute flight from Nassau and offers an isolated sanctuary surrounded by crystal-clear water and rustling palms. At the Kamalame Cay Resort, you’ll get as much, or as little, attention as you want from the staff. There, you can discover the beauty of underwater life with a scuba expedition at the island’s PADI rated Dive Centre, which offers all levels of certification for non-divers, snorkelers, and children. Or simply grab a cocktail and stroll across the sandy path to the dock to catch a stunning sunset.

Rosalie Bay, Dominica

Set on the wild Atlantic coast of rugged, mostly undeveloped Dominica, Rosalie Bay offers a tranquil island escape 45 minutes from the capital city of Roseau. Stay at the Rosalie Bay Resort, which features twenty-eight guest rooms and suites with mountain, ocean, river, or garden views amid towering palms and coconut trees. The resort’s Zamaan Restaurant offers fresh ingredients from Rosalie Bay Resort’s garden and authentic Dominican flavors. Enjoy your meal under the moonlight on their outdoor veranda. You can enjoy a trek over moss-covered paths to Boiling Lake, the world’s second-largest volcanically heated body of water.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

The exotic city of Playa del Carmen sits just outside of Cancun, with gorgeous beaches on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. A stay at The Banyan Tree Mayakoba resort ensures privacy with your own plunge pool. Spacious villas seamlessly blend outdoors and indoors, with an open-to-the-stars tub. Due to its proximity to Cancun, you can take a day trip to the historic archeological sites outside of the city where you can explore preserved pyramids, ancient temples, and colorful murals.

Peter Island, British Virgin Islands

Located on one of the largest private islands in the Caribbean, Peter Island features a collection of five secluded beaches. Peter Island Resort is the island’s only attraction, but you won’t be shorted on service. Enjoy luxurious villas and suites, a quietly attentive staff, and a spa surrounded by lush gardens. For fun, sign up for the Sunset Loop, an exciting ride up the curvy mountain roads to one of the highest points on the island. For food, indulge in authentic Caribbean food and delectable desserts at the resort’s Tradewinds restaurant, and don’t miss the eatery’s wine room, which features more than 300 exclusive selections.

Curaçao, The Caribbean

This enticing island known for its gorgeous coral reefs is located in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. You can stay at the Hotel Kura Hulanda Spa & Casino, which was actually once a slum. Now, the drastically renovated hotel features 80 rooms, each uniquely different. You’ll get a large dose of Venezuelan culture if you go global at the open-air Old Market, where vendors grill chicken, fish, or even goat for lunch. Seating is communal, so picnic tables are likely to be shared by government employees, cab drivers, and tourists.

Costa Alegre, Mexico

Located just below Puerto Vallarta and just above Cihuatlan, Costa Alegre translates to “Cheerful Coast.” Experts recommend a stay at El Tamarindo, where you won’t have to angle for beach space with only a few dozen guests and two miles of coast. Eat at the El Marino in nearby Manzanillo for fresh seafood and a stunning beach view. When you venture outside of the resort, make sure to arrange for a temazcal, an ancient purifying treatment involving a mud bath and sweat lodge on the beach.

Sandy Cay, British Virgin Islands

This small nature preserve in the British Virgin Islands is great for snorkeling and swimming, thanks to crystal-clear water and a shallow reef. Sebastian’s Seaside Villas, located about four miles from the island, offers beachfront accommodations with private balconies or terraces. Stroll the shore and enjoy spectacular sunset views, explore the white-sand beach—home to endangered leather back turtles—and snorkel in the waters around Sandy Spit. Ivan’s Stress Free Bar located on nearby Jost Van Dyke Island is an excellent place to eat seasonal BBQ every Thursday.

West Snake Caye, Port of Honduras

Seventeen miles from the town of Punta Gorda, the four small Snake Cayes lie in the 160-mile Port of Honduras Marine Reserve, which boasts lush mangrove trees and endangered species. Your stay at the The Wyvern Hotel in Punta Gorda ensures that you are equipped with lush bathrobes in every room and tranquil Charlotte Harbor views. For a taste of fresh, local cuisine, try Emery’s in Punta Gorda. The open-air restaurant features a variety of dishes, with everything from stew chicken to whole fried snapper.

Gold Coast, Barbados

The lavish Sandy Lane resort will make you and your family feel right at home with spacious villas, penthouses, and suites. Head to the resort’s casual Bajan Blue restaurant for European, Asian, and Caribbean influenced cuisine in an idyllic beachside atmosphere. You might experience a “star-sighting” on this popular celebrity hot spot off the West coast of Barbados.

Shoal Bay East, Anguilla

Sleepy Anguilla wakes up—a little—at this two-mile expanse of feathery white sand that glitters in the sun. The quiet Shoal Bay Villas offer studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments all equipped with kitchens, only steps away from the water. Be sure to take advantage of the bay’s pure-white beaches, which are rarely crowded, and offer complete relaxation. At Gwen’s Reggae Bar, you can enjoy a tasty lunch, enjoy live reggae on Sundays, and take a nap on an inviting hammock under a grove of palm trees.

Learn more about choosing a beach vacation spot here: http://www.coastalliving.com/travel/top-10/top-10-exotic-beach-destinations

Public Health Lessons Learned from the Ebola Outbreak
07 Jul 2015

Though the Ebola virus devastated west Africa last year, there have been many lessons learned from healthcare’s response that may have profound long-term effects on the overall industry. Mostly, concerns over the spread of the virus largely focused on rapid detection and diagnosis at a collective level, but these concerns also highlighted individual health security, which derives from access to effective, safe healthcare, according to U.K. Health Protection Agency Chairman of the Board David L. Heymann. The Ebola zone’s lack of effective care access and infection control, Heymann writes, has intertwined the two.

The Ebola crisis put the spotlight on the importance of reducing the vulnerability of societies to infectious disease threats that spread across national borders. The collective aspect of health security has been the focus of attention and the commonly understood conceptualization of health security for centuries, but at the same time Ebola-infected west Africans have had to accept that health care is not always safe, not always effective, and not always accessible and that their own health security is yet again at risk.

As the Ebola epidemic has unfolded substandard infection control and inadequate access to effective health products and services have demonstrated a wider scope of health security than the traditionally accepted version of health security.

The outbreak also demonstrated the need to construct robust public health systems to safeguard against such outbreaks, write Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden and coauthors. “We can expect infectious diseases to continue to emerge and re-emerge unpredictably in places where we are not looking–or simply cannot see because of lack of adequate, resilient public health surveillance systems and infrastructure,” they write.

In February 2014 the United States partnered with twenty-eight other nations and numerous health organizations to launch the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). More than thirty-six nations have committed to working toward the GHSA’s 12 technical goals, which include: a national biosecurity system that protects against deadly pathogens, and a medical workforce that includes at least one trained field epidemiologist per 200,000 people.

Lincoln Chen and Keizo Takemi, authors of Ebola: Lessons in Security, write, “the global health community should address future threats to health security comprehensively based on deeper understanding of prevention and remediation of human security. Simply taking the International Health Regulations to a next step would be too weak and too narrow an adjustment.” In our current world, a globalizing world where health interdependence is greater than ever, there is still a window of opportunity to respond more effectively and comprehensively to the wake-up calls, like the Ebola outbreak.

Learn more about what we’ve learned from the Ebola outbreak: http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/public-health-lessons-ebola-outbreak/2015-05-08

 

Use Social Media to Become A Better Doctor
07 Jul 2015

It’s 2015. Social Media surrounds every aspect of our lives and most doctors do not take advantage of it. It is important for doctors to begin to embrace the power of social media and use it help themselves and their patients. Facebook boasts more than a billion users, Twitter more than 120 million, and up to 80% of patients go online for health information. Engaging in the online conversation and using the tools of social media can enhance the good that can be done, for patients, for doctors, and for the profession at large.

There are five distinct benefits to considering using social media. These include:

Anything Goes: Because there are so little current opportunities for health care social media, those who pioneer and blaze the trail for others have the chance to set the stage for those who follow. Doctors can set the rules for themselves in online social media ventures.

Direct Contact: What patients really want to read is what their doctor says, not press releases, articles from barely credible sources, or pseudo-science from advertisers. As a doctor, your patients will listen to you and value your thoughts and opinions over those who are less than suitable.

Therapy Factor: Morale amongst caregivers is low, and sinking lower. Social media offers doctors a chance to reflect about what is still so good about their work. Writing, or Tweeting, or blogging, allows a doctor to consider the patient who actually lost the weight, or the family who sent you a Thank You note for having had the courage to discuss end-of-life care. The social aspect of social media connects doctors with colleagues across the world.

Become a Better Doctor: The pace of change in health care is increasing. In the course of three weeks in late 2013, two paradigms of cardiovascular medicine were upended. Social media covered the story in real time, while print journal coverage came later. Social media delivers an opportunity for discussion to a doctor’s smartphone or tablet, and staying current and informed has never been more important. Twitter allows easy curation of content from trusted sources as it comes available.

Leveling the Playing Field: The blog and Twitter feed of stage IV breast cancer patient Lisa Adams has stirred the mainstream of journalism and medicine. When writers Bill and Emma Keller, of the NY Times and the Guardian, respectively, discussed Ms. Adams poignant posts, and a torrent of criticism and conversation followed. The vastness of the response, from the New Yorker, Wired, NPR, Atlantic, The Nation, the American College of Oncology and many more outlets, removed any doubt that social media has transformed the sphere of influence.

Overall, social media gives regular doctors a voice, a chance to influence and affect change in society at large.

Learn more about social media usage and how you can take advantage of all of its opportunities here: http://medcitynews.com/2014/02/doctors-social-media-time-embrace-change/

Could Marijuana Soon be Legalized Nationwide?
07 Jul 2015

Though the national election is over one year away, 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is open to the idea of legalizing marijuana around the nation. In an online discussion at Reddit.com, Sanders commented that he would be open to legalizing marijuana use for recreational purposes nationwide. “The state of Vermont voted to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana and I support that. I have supported the use of medical marijuana,” Sanders said.

His home state of Vermont is currently considering legislation that would decriminalize marijuana usage, and has additionally changed the drugs status from a Schedule I to Schedule II drug.

Currently, Sanders trails Hillary Clinton in the polls by an average of 57 points, but many young voters who support the legalization of marijuana might be swayed by Sanders’ opinion. “We have been engaged in [the war on drugs] for decades now with a huge cost and the destruction of a whole lot of lives of people who were never involved in any violent activities,” he told Time.

With regard to full marijuana legalization, Sanders said he will look to Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legal, to see the effects of such a policy change. Colorado was the first state to legalize the drug for recreational purposes. It’s now fully legal in four states and in Washington, D.C., though sales remain banned in the District.

Sanders has not said that he fully supports nationwide legalization and has stated on the record that he has used the drug in the past, but that it is not his thing. “It’s not my thing, but it is the thing of a whole lot of people. And if you want to make the argument that maybe marijuana is less harmful to health than tobacco, I think you’d probably be making a correct argument. Some may disagree but I think it’s probably true,” he said.

With the presidential primaries to take place in early 2016, Sanders has called for debates to begin this summer and said he’s looking forward to discussing the issues with his competition on both sides of the aisle.

Learn more about the move to legalize marijuana: http://www.ijreview.com/2015/05/326473-pot-use-soon-become-legal-nationwide-bernie-sanders-seems-open-idea/

Five Changes in Five Years: How the ACA has Changed the Industry
07 Jul 2015

2015 marks the fifth year of the Affordable Health Care Act. The healthcare reform law has drastically changed the climate for hospitals – and more changes are coming. Recently, PricewaterhouseCoopers released a report highlighting five major changes the law made in health care and how they’ll continue to shape hospitals’ decisions in the years to come.

1. Risk Shift

As healthcare executives know, one of the biggest changes created by healthcare reform is the shift from fee-for-service payments to value-based payment models, which means all healthcare providers now assume some of the risk if patients don’t stay healthy. Medicare recently announced that it’s working to make almost all payments contingent upon value, so this development will continue as time goes on.

Value-based care won’t only affect Medicare payments. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has pledged to work with private payors for the next few years to make sure that value-based initiatives are expanded to include third-party carrier payments as well.

Hospitals’ payments have also been affected by Medicare’s program to penalize facilities for high readmission rates. With these cuts to reimbursement, hospitals must do what they can to avoid them by evaluating the care they provide and looking for ways to improve patient outcomes.

2. Primary Care

Because the ACA places its focus on keeping patients healthy, primary care has also become more important. Insurance plans cover various preventive services in hopes that patients won’t become sick in the first place. Other healthcare providers, including hospitals, have been encouraged to take this approach with their care, so the coordination of care has become more important. Through entities such as accountable care organizations (ACOs), hospitals are working closely with primary care physicians and other providers to keep patients healthy.

Many hospitals have already entered the foray of primary care by purchasing their own physician practices. But even facilities that haven’t taken that step will need to be aware of the primary care resources available in their area so they can make recommendations to patients.

3. New Tech and Vendors

Most hospitals have an electronic health records (EHR) vendor they work with to keep their medical records digitized due to new rules implemented with the ACA and other federal initiatives. Besides EHR vendors, ACA changes have created other new business partners for hospitals to work with, many of whom shape their business models around helping patients keep track of their own health indicators.

Funding from the ACA has enabled several start-up companies to create new health technology, including “digital pills” that track patients’ conditions, apps that help fight heart disease and diabetes, and wearable devices that monitor patients’ heart rates and sleep patterns. In addition, hospitals can work with telehealth providers to follow up with patients who may have difficulty traveling to appointments on their own after discharge.

Using the technology from these vendors, hospitals can transform care delivery and boost their quality. It will be easier for facilities to monitor patients and see if their conditions really are improving once they leave the hospital and clinicians can catch small issues before they turn into significant health problems.

4. Health Insurance

Naturally, the ACA has changed the face of health insurance. Aside from the fact that payors are now focusing more on value, the plans themselves are different than they were five years ago. The industry has become more of a business than ever, with patients encouraged to shop around and find the coverage that fits their needs. The variety of insurance plans have left billing staff in hospitals scrambling to keep up with what services are covered and how much patients are responsible for paying out of pocket.

And it’s only getting more complicated going forward. With the future of exchange plans up in the air pending a Supreme Court decision in King v. Burwell, changes could be even more dramatic.

But for now, expect to see patients with a variety of insurances – and to deal with their complaints if they find out their plans don’t cover as much as expected. Facilities must also be prepared to treat patients more like customers, listening to their preferences and appealing to their wallets by providing quality care at a reasonable cost.

5. State Regulations

When the ACA was first passed, states were given a large amount of leeway when it came to enforcing key points of the law, such as creating their own exchanges. This trend will continue going forward, and if King v. Burwell forbids the use of subsidies to purchase exchange plans, the landscape will shift even more. Hospitals may end up providing more charity care, depending on how their state decides to handle exchange plans after the court decision.

Since state laws regarding ACA coverage are constantly changing, hospitals have a chance to actually have an effect on the decisions lawmakers make. It may be a good idea to check with state medical associations or hospital associations to see if there are any specific lobbying outlets where you can make your voice heard on behalf of your facility’s needs.

The industry is always changing and will continue to change, so make sure you are up-to-date on your current events news. The Affordable Care Act impacts your daily work, and it’s important to stay current so that you can effectively advice your patients.

Learn more about the ACA: http://www.healthcarebusinesstech.com/aca-healthcare-trends/

 

Is Your Website Mobile?
07 Jul 2015

On February 26, 2015 Google gave marketers incredible insight into changes planned for their search algorithms and the exact day they will go into effect. Specifically, they announced that on April 21, 2015 mobile search engine results pages (SERPs) would be impacted by the mobile-friendliness of a website.

Google wants to make it easier for people using mobile devices to access websites that have been optimized for use on that device. Recently, their algorithms for mobile search have shifted to reflect this desire. You still have time to change your website to fit within these guidelines. Here are a few tips to make your website mobile-friendly.

 

  1. Consider the Patient. Think about your desired customer and the actions they are likely to perform on your mobile site. Are they there to research you or to make an appointment? Are they looking up an address or phone number on the way to your office? Mobile search now accounts for about 60 percent of online traffic to websites, and people use their devices to complete a myriad of tasks. Consider all the possible actions patients might take from a mobile device and use these ideas to guide the planning of the mobile site and the navigation menu. Navigation should be intuitive and easy to use with fingers instead of with a mouse.

 

  1. Stay local. Unless you want to encourage medical tourism, focus your efforts on reaching patients in your local area. Many doctors make the mistake of trying to reach patients who will have to travel to their practice, but when you have potential patients in your nearby area, there is no need to make patients travel a long way to find you. Instead, optimize your website using the name of your region and/or city.

 

  1. Review your site content, page by page. The message you send out to patients makes your website’s content extremely important. It is always a good idea to review your website thoroughly, in order to be certain that your site contains no duplicate pages or content. Having duplicate pages or content can cause issues with your search engine results.

 

  1. Utilize Marketing Tools. Google Analytics is an effective and useful tool that doctors can use to track the success of their own website. Google Analytics tracks how many visitors a specific website receives, and also tracks what areas of a site receive the most hits, so doctors will truly know what works for their website- and what doesn’t.

 

  1. Blogs are effective. Since the field of healthcare is constantly changing, doctors should provide patients with useful resources and informative materials. For nearly every health condition, the patient will have questions about treatment options, medications, and diagnosis of the condition. Blogs are one of the most effective ways to provide patients with accessible, high quality information. Having an effective blog will also increase visitation to the doctor’s website.

Overall, taking time to connect with your website will allow it to drive patients to your practice. Make your website search engine friendly and work with Google to make it as mobile-friendly as possible.

Learn more about how doctors can increase their SEO: http://www.mednet-tech.com/newsletter/blogs/seo-tips-for-doctors-2

Learn more about the new Google algorithms: http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/how-to/2402354/mobile-optimization-and-the-google-algorithm-change-7-steps-to-stay-friendly#

 

 

Dr. Ben Carson Takes Lead in Current Polls for Republican Primary
07 Jul 2015

Dr. Ben Carson, current Republican presidential candidate, has recently beat the odds in recent polls, taking first and second place in a Quinnipiac University survey. When polled against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Dr. Carson tied for first with four other top GOP with 10 percent of the vote nationally.

He tied Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) for second in a Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa poll reaching 10 percent of the vote among likely caucus-goers in that state. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leads Carson and Paul with 17 percent in that poll.

Dr. Carson attributes his campaign message – “We The People” – to his success in the polls. “Our campaign based on “We The People” is catching fire all across this great country,” Carson says. “The Washington political class is starting to panic. It will not be long until they start attacking us.”

His political stances include balancing the budget, keeping open Guantanamo Bay, decentralizing the educational system, and repealing the Affordable Healthcare Act. In late May, he won the straw poll at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference on Saturday, demonstrating his popularity among conservative activists at one of the party’s traditional presidential events.

The Real Clear Politics average shows Carson in fourth place among fellow GOP presidential contenders. He follows former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Learn more about Ben Carson and the upcoming election: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/06/02/dr-ben-carson-beats-the-odds-in-recent-polls-taking-first-and-second-place

 

Physician Recommendation Leads to Patient Weight Loss
07 Jul 2015

Patients who have received recommendations from their doctors to lose weight are more likely to take those suggestions seriously and lose the weight. New research from the University of Georgia, published in the journal Economics and Human Biology, indicates that patients whose physicians have recommended weight loss succeed more often than patients whose physicians have not advised weight loss.

The study used a national data set from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and author Joshua Berning found that physician advice was associated with a reported 10-pound loss for women and a 12-pound loss for men over a one-year period. The study didn’t show that getting weight loss counsel from your doctor would definitively lead to weight loss, but advice from a physician was linked to greater odds of weight loss.

In 2010, more than 78 million U.S. adults and roughly 12.5 million children and adolescents were obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the rate is rising. According to a recent analysis by Gallup Healthways, the adult obesity rate in 2013 was 27.2%, up from 26.2% in 2012, and it is on pace to surpass all annual average obesity rates since Gallup-Healthways began tracking it in 2008.

“People often gain weight as they age,” Berning said. “The recommendation of weight loss mitigated weight gain more than it facilitated weight loss.” Physicians are able to put a person’s health into context by looking at factors beyond just weight or body mass index. Health care providers can assess multiple components, such as diet, exercise and medical history, to determine if a patient is at risk for obesity.

A similar study from the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine examined the strategies doctors use to talk to patients about their weight loss. The study indicated that while physicians see an estimated 25% of the US population every month, and overweight patients represent approximately 60% of this patient population, patients who report receiving physician counseling about weight loss are up to two times more likely to report that they are currently trying to lose weight.

The impact direct communication can have on obesity is powerful and the solution sounds easy enough. The problem Berning found is that many “physicians often don’t take the time to consult patients about being overweight. They need to take the opportunity to interact with their patients. Through an open dialogue, patients can find solutions to their health issues, especially in terms of obesity.”

Commercial weight-loss programs are for profit, and they can be prohibitively expensive. Health care provider advice is more affordable and achievable for a wider population. Doctors can identify obesity problems earlier on and build long-term relationships with their patients.

Sometimes the best advice is advice that is hard to hear. The weight loss discussion can be uncomfortable for both the physician and the patient. As a result, this necessary conversation is often avoided during a doctor’s appointment. However, this study shows that, while awkward, the recommendation can lead to promising results.

Learn more about the study here: http://www.oconeeenterprise.com/lifestyles/article_1ff1bc88-de03-11e4-a1ea-d78bbe59079e.html