Wellness | The Role of Physical Therapists in Treating and Preventing Obesity


As more and more physical therapists are becoming Doctors in Physical Therapy, I think it is important that we take a step up from what we are “used to doing” and start treating patients as whole instead of just addressing their injuries.  Fortunately, I am not alone in this view as more PT clinics are taking on the wellness mantra in helping their patients not only recover from injury, but to also educate them on how to live a healthier lifestyle as part of their care.

 Obesity is a condition we should all be addressing with our patients.  We already know the effects being overweight can have on the various musculoskeletal structures in the body and I do not believe it is necessary to list them here.

But, as Doctors of Physical Therapy, we also need to be conscious of how obesity affects the other body systems and be able to provide education and strategies for our patients who are obese to consider.  This might include helping them find their motivation for getting healthier, getting them started on a basic exercise routine with follow-up on a consistent basis to make sure they are hitting their exercise plan goals.

It also may include nutrition counseling.  Now I am not saying we have to be experts in nutrition planning, but we should at least have a few “tools in our bag”- basic meal planning recommendations, referrals to good dieticians, or high quality supplement weight loss products for them to consider.

Sometimes I hear other therapists complaining that this should not be our role – that we should not make nutrition recommendations.  I say “Why not?”  If we are truly going to call ourselves Doctors, then nutrition planning is a key component to helping a patient with their health.

Additionally, we know how to read and decipher the research behind various nutrition strategies, so we should consider it another education opportunity that we should use to help our patients while bringing in more money for our practices depending on the strategy(s) we use.

We recently incorporated such a strategy in our clinic and it has turned out to be very successful for both our obese patients and in increasing our revenue stream.  We aligned ourselves with a natural products company called Qivana.  This company has a metabolic reset supplement system that was developed by one of the leading physicians in metabolic research, Dr. Donald K. Layman (Google his research).

The supplement system we are providing our patients who are looking to lose weight is backed by years of evidenced based research and was tested by a third party for quality and effectiveness prior to Qivana bringing the product to market.

Furthermore, the system provides a meal plan guide for individuals who use the products.  Our clients have had great results using this product system and it has helped us establish ourselves as a wellness facility, which opens new doors for us revenue wise.

More importantly, we are able to play a bigger role in the overall care of our obese patients in helping them eat healthier and see positive weight loss results.   I also have a new source of great testimonials from happy patients who we were able to help from a nutrition standpoint.

If you are interested in learning more about how we incorporated Qivana’s supplement system into our practice, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at smessineo@allaccesspt.com.