NPs Collaborate for Obesity White Paper

On January 12, 2013, ANPF convened nine Nurse Practitioners (NPs) together in San Francisco to discuss the obesity epidemic in the U.S. Due to its high prevalence, obesity has become a significant national health concern because of its contribution to preventable deaths and its associated health care costs. Each NP was chosen on to be part of the discussion for either their current research or leadership in the field.

“As nurse practitioners, we are quite aware of the epidemic of those individuals who are overweight or obese in the world today,” said roundtable participant Bruce Zitkus, EdD, APRN, ANP-BC, FNP-BC, CDE. “Oftentimes it is challenging to discuss and treat weight issues with a person whether the practitioner is a novice or expert. ANPF rose to the challenge to assist nurse practitioners in providing not only scientific data, but also practical insight and tools in diagnosing, treating and managing those who are overweight or obese.”

obesity roundtable

The robust agenda included topics such as:

  • Initiating Nurse Practitioner-Patient Adult Obesity Conversation
  • Patient Approaches
  • Barriers to the Patient Adult Obesity Conversation
  • Innovative Thoughts To The Conversation
  • Educational Resources Currently Available
  • Non-Pharmacological Adult Treatment, Nutrition and Exercise
  • Pharmacological Adult Treatment
  • Childhood Obesity: Intervention Strategies
  • Resources available addressing Childhood Obesity
  • Provider Education and Opportunities
  • Caregiver, Home Care, Assisted Living, Assess Resources Needed

Although all of the topics were discussed, it was decided that the focus for this white paper would be on adults. While obese patients represent 60% to 70% of the panel members’ practices, only about 3% of these patients seek assistance. As it is discussed in the paper, weight loss often is perceived as a personal problem by patients, and their own biases and those of healthcare providers (as well as the stigma associated with overweight and obesity) interfere with patients seeking care.

Because so few patients seek care on their own, clinicians must proactively address patients’ obesity and related medical conditions. The non-pharmacological and pharmacological approaches described in this paper contribute to weight loss in many patients. Still, for many others, they fail. The panel members identified three key areas in which changed paradigms and additional resources in the medical community could enhance health care providers’ abilities to assist patients with weight loss. Finally, the panelists hope that this white paper and its accompanying appendix streamlines the process of finding resources for busy NPs and provides them with valuable tools.

“It is important to have this white paper as it will provide an evidence-based resource for nurse practitioners and other health professionals to effectively assess, manage, and counsel overweight and obese individuals in a sensitive and caring manner,” said roundtable participant Jane Peterson, PhD, FNP-C.

Access the full Obesity White Paper.

ANPF thanks the following nurse practitioner roundtable members for their active participation in the discussion and in the development of this paper: Frances M. Sahebzamani (Rankin), Ph.D, ARNP, FAANP, who chaired the roundtable panel and served as editor of this white paper; Bruce Zitkus, EdD, APRN, ANP-BC, FNP-BC, CDE; Michele Bunker-Alberts, DNP, APN-FNP-BC, IBCLC; Geri M Budd, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP; Helene M. Holbrook, DNP, FNP-C; Jane Peterson, PhD, FNP-C; Kathi Reveles, DNP, CPNP-PC; Jena M. Simon, MS, MEd, FNP-BC, RN-BC, and Mimi Secor, MS, Med, FNP-BC, FAANP.

ANPF also acknowledges Mark R. Vogel, MA, a medical communications specialist in San Francisco, for his research assistance and for writing the document, Lea Ann Purvis, MPA, of Denver for her facilitation of the roundtable, and Dale Murphy of San Francisco for graphic design.

Funding for the roundtable and for the development of the white paper was provided by an unrestricted grant from VIVUS, Inc.

Thank you  International Council of Nurses International Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nursing Network (INP/APNN) for making our white paper available  at The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of more than 130 national nurses associations (NNAs), representing the more than 16 million nurses worldwide. We are truly honored.