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DHSS Among Founding Members of National My Healthy Weight; Medicaid Program to Offer Treatment Visits for Obesity Starting in 2019

January 2, 2018

NEW CASTLE (Jan. 2, 2018) – In embracing one of the policy objectives of Governor John Carney’s Action Plan for Delaware, the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) has become a founding member of the national My Healthy Weight, a first-ever collective initiative offering obesity prevention and treatment for individuals of all ages. Delaware is one of nine founding members of this public-private initiative developed by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the Bipartisan Policy Center, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In Governor Carney’s Action Plan, his transition team recommended that DHSS launch a statewide effort to reduce the impact of obesity as a way to improve health outcomes and reduce health costs. About two-thirds of Delaware adults are at an unhealthy weight, either obese or overweight, and half of all Delawareans don’t get regular physical activity. In 2014, about 11 percent of Delaware adults reported having diabetes, with that percentage rising to 18.6 percent for Delawareans with incomes below $15,000, compared with 7.8 percent for those who make $50,000 or more per year.

Starting in January 2019, Medicaid clients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher will have access to at least 12 visits a year with a health care professional to support healthy weight. Individuals with a BMI of 25 or higher and specific cardiovascular health risks and children with at-risk BMIs will also be offered visits with health care professionals. Further support will be provided for eligible individuals to access community-based programs focused on obesity prevention and treatment.

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