Insurers have new incentives to invest in preventive obesity counseling programs; roughly 1 in 3 children in the country is obese or overweight, and the health reform law requires insurers cover obesity screening and counseling, reported The New York Times.
Although many treatment programs already exist at hospitals or medical centers, they aren't ideal for overweight children who haven't yet developed serious conditions such as diabetes. "There's a big gap" between what's available and what's needed for children, said Gary Foster, director of the Temple University Center for Obesity Research and Education.
Because insurers must pay for child obesity services, "the market will respond" with more treatment options, Deneen Vojta, a pediatrician and UnitedHealth executive, told the Times.
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