The Health Index Initiative tracks and monitors a variety of data sources to measure progress being made to decrease obesity. In 2016, MaineHealth leaders set bold, aggressive targets for two of these measures as a way to challenge MaineHealth organizations to continue achieving positive steps toward the MaineHealth vision.
Short-term obesity measure and target:
- By September 30, 2018, 80% or more of MaineHealth member-owned family and internal medicine practices using EPIC Electronic Health Record will complete training on adult obesity standards of care and 50% or more will implement components of Standard of Care in their practices.
Long-term obesity measure and target
- By 2020, 26% or less of adults in the MaineHealth service area will have obesity (indicated by a Body Mass Index ≥30.0).
In 2017, the Small Steps program increased the number of adult primary care practice teams trained on the new adult obesity standard of care. Implementing Small Steps protocols requires primary care practices to be knowledgeable about healthy eating and active living messages, follow clinical and administrative workflow procedures that support the assessment of lifestyle habits, be comfortable initiating compassionate conversations around a specific healthy eating or active living goal and develop and document a follow up plan for patients. As of September 2017, clinical teams at 13 of 42 member-owned adult primary care practices were trained in the standard of care for adults with obesity.
In recent years, rates of adult obesity in Maine and the MaineHealth service area have begun to stabilize. Having stable rates over time can be viewed as an intermediate step toward the ultimate goal of decreasing obesity. In 2016, the adult obesity rate was 29.9% and during 2012-2014 ranged from 28.2% to 30%; there were no statistically significant increases or decreases during this period.
Across the United States, the South tends to have the highest percentage of obese youth while states near the Rocky Mountains tend to have the lowest. Maine has one of the higher rates of youth obesity in New England.
Although the rate of increase in youth obesity has been stabilizing, 15% of middle school and high school students have obesity.
Although 81% of adults get some physical activity each month, only about half of those adults meet the CDC guideline of 150 minutes or more of aerobic activity and less than one third meet the strength training recommended level of twice per week.
The percentage of middle and high school students that spend 3 or more hours per day playing video games or using a computer has been steadily increasing. The time spent (3+ hours) excludes school work done on the computer.