Health officials at Hennepin County and the cities of Minneapolis and Bloomington say a two-year-old program targeting obesity in low-income communities has had visible results.
The initiative is part of a statewide health improvement program that began in July 2009. It encourages health providers at primary care clinics to talk to patients about their body mass index and what it means for their overall health.
"This is health reform on the front lines," said Megan Ellingson, a health policy coordinator for Minneapolis.
Ellingson said the program, in part, targets public clinics that serve uninsured or under-insured populations.
"Some clinics have done some chart audits that have showed that when the project started they were only measuring [body mass index] in about 30-40 percent of their patients and [now] some clinics have shown that's up to 80 and 90 percent," Ellingson said.
Ellingson said all some people need to confront their weight problem is a talk with a doctor about their body mass index.
She said dealing with the issue early on saves money for patients and the healthcare system.