Yesterday, and NPR story covered the fact that Tennessee’s Medicaid program, TennCare, will pay for obese patients to have bariatric surgery, but not for counseling from a dietitian. “That has led some critics to complain that TennCare won’t pay for an ounce of prevention but will pay for a pound of cure,” writes Daniel Potter.
Wendy Long, the chief medical officer of TennCare says that bariatric surgery is the most cost-effective method for the state to treat obesity. Gastric bypass surgery costs the state about $20,000 per operation.
One dietitian, Sarah-Jane Bedwell, says that this practice isn’t a real solution to the problem. “It’s like saying we’re going to fill your cavities, but we’re not going to ever pay for you to get your teeth cleaned or teach you how to brush your teeth,” she contends.
In an official report released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it appears that most Americans still aren’t eating enough vegetables, and their consumption of fruits is dropping, as well.
The study, conducted via telephone, surveyed hundreds of thousands of adult Americans. In it, the CDC found that just under 1/3 of Americans ate fruit, or drank fruit juice, at least twice a day. An earlier report released in 2000 showed a figure of 34%. Just over 1/4 of those surveyed admit to eating vegetables at least three times a day. This figure remained the same.
When the study was broken down by state, no one state met either the fruit or vegetable recommendation. California ate the most fruit and Tennessee was best with vegetables. Oklahoma was at the bottom for fruit consumption and South Dakota had the lowest vegetable consumption. (more…)