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Study: Most physicians support employer weight-loss programs, unhealthy food regulations


ARLINGTON, Va. — More than three-quarters of physicians think the federal government should regulate foods with unhealthy ingredients, while 79% say employers should fund weight-loss programs for employees, according to results of a survey presented Tuesday at a diabetes conference.

The survey, conducted by Joslin Diabetes Center and healthcare research firm WorldOne, included more than 150 endocrinologists and primary care physicians, and results were presented at Joslin's Diabetes Innovation 2012 conference.

"These results are very important to us and our mission," Joslin executive director of diabetes innovation and global professional education Julie Brown said. "With Diabetes Innovation 2012, it's vital that all stakeholders are aligned, and we understand beliefs and concerns that may derail progress toward a more effective system. if stakeholder groups' concerns are not understood or ignored, we won't realize the true cooperation we need to make any sustained, valuable improvement."

In addition to the 76% of respondents who supported federal regulations of unhealthy foods, 71% supported New York's ban on sugary soft drinks larger than 16 oz. in public food venues. Meanwhile, 97% said individual health counseling has a powerful effect on the health of people with diabetes. Eighty-seven percent said more pharmaceutical options for the disease are needed, while 62% said devices like insulin pumps, monitors and implants and drug therapies are most likely to have the greatest near-term benefit to patients.

At the same time, there were significant differences between the responses of physicians and delegates to the conference. While 55% of delegates said pharmacists should be able to serve as primary care providers for people with diabetes, 15% of physicians said the same. Meanwhile, 70% of physicians said pharmaceutically assisted innovations are necessary for obesity management, compared with 45% of delegates. Seventeen percent of physicians said future screening would have a positive effect on clinical outcomes; 9% of delegates said the same.

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