Clinical Practice: New Toolkits Help Ob-Gyns Better Combat Obesity and Smoking

When immediate past ACOG president Mark DeFrancesco, MD, came into office at ACOG one year ago, he made a commitment to help ob-gyns provide continuity of care for their patients, from routine well-woman care to prenatal services to life-saving gynecologic surgery. He urged ob-gyns to provide more comprehensive care with a specific focus on obesity and smoking, reminding members that better preventive care is intrinsically woven into prenatal and maternal health. Last month, ACOG unveiled two new toolkits as part of Dr. DeFrancesco’s presidential initiative: the Obesity Toolkit and the Tobacco and Nicotine Cessation Toolkit.

Each toolkit is comprised of materials and resources to help ob-gyns better care for their patients with these two common problems. “780,000 people die in the USA alone each year from the effects of obesity and smoking,” says Dr. DeFrancesco. “These are pervasive problems in our country these days, cutting across all specialties and sub-specialties, and we need to address these issues with our patients. Of course, these are difficult discussions to have with patients, but if we don’t bring up these conversations, who will?”

Two separate workgroups made up of several key experts in these fields compiled existing resources around the web and developed new materials for each toolkit.. The toolkits offer ob-gyn offices scripts, pocket cards, and useful materials to address these issues with patients. Relevant coding information is also available so that doctors can be appropriately compensated for the time and effort spent undertaking these important issues.

“If we do this, we can make an extremely positive impact in the population health arena, and do much to improve the health of our nation,” says Dr. DeFrancesco.

The ACOG Obesity Toolkit

Although Dr. DeFrancesco recognizes that ob-gyn practices are already overwhelmed with their day-to-day operations, he points out that obesity is a condition that directly affects an ob-gyn’s ability to provide care. “We all know that obesity increases the Cesarean delivery rate and other pregnancy-related morbidities,” he said. “Even worse perhaps, we now also know that obesity in pregnancy may be condemning the newborn to a medically complicated life.” 

The obesity toolkit was developed by members of the Wellness Work Group on Obesity, including Laurie Gregg, MD; Raul Artal, MD; Michelle Ann Kominiarek, MD; Andrea Sharma, MPH, PhD; Kimberly Kristine Vesco, MD; Kurt Wharton, MD; Robert A. Wild, MD, PhD, MPH; and ACOG staff, including Christopher Zahn, MD; Nancy O’Reilly, MHS; Sarah Son, MPH; Katie Ogden, and Donna Tyler.

The obesity toolkit includes:

  • An obesity screening and treatment algorithm, which easily shows you how to screen and treat patients depending on their risk factors.
  • A new list of commonly used codes for obesity and comorbidities
  • Scientific studies on screening and treatment
  • A waist circumference measurement tool to help you effortlessly look up associated disease risks
  • A color-coded BMI table allows you and your patient to easily identify her BMI category
  • Physician Q&A for suggested interventions
  • Trusted Resources from USDA, Plate Tracker, Diet Tracker, and more

Download Obesity Toolkit Now

The ACOG Tobacco and Nicotine Cessation Toolkit

Despite the overall decrease in smoking in recent years, we have a long way to go to eliminate it altogether. In the United States alone, approximately 480,000 deaths per year are attributable to tobacco use. “We, as ob-gyns, provide care for many women who essentially see no other health care providers,” says Dr. DeFrancesco. “We have a responsibility to provide more comprehensive care for our patients.”

The Tobacco and Nicotine Cessation toolkit was developed by members of the Wellness Work Group on Tobacco Cessation, including Sharon Phelan, MD; Byron Calhoun, MD; Susan Crowe, MD; Tricia Wright, MD; and ACOG staff, including Christopher Zahn, MD; Nancy O’Reilly, MHS; Sarah Son, MPH; and Katie Ogden, and Donna Tyler.

The toolkit includes:

  • A pocket card tool for screening patients includes questionnaire for patients, and talking points for counseling, and local and national resources to help patients quit
  • A new list of codes commonly used for smoking
  • Recently published ACOG Committee Opinion with updated smoking guidance and educational resources
  • Information on smoking while pregnant/ breastfeeding including helpful links to AAP resource and tools and techniques to best provide ACA-Covered preventative services
  • The latest updates on new nicotine delivery systems such as ecigarettes and vaping
  • Resources for tobacco cessation in teens with info about e-cigarette use, handouts, and posters specifically targeted to teens
  • Tools to influence public policy and promote best practice tobacco cessation policies
  • Trusted resources from the CDC, WHO, AAP, and more

Download Tobacco and Nicotine Cessation Toolkit Now

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188
Mailing Address: PO Box 96920, Washington, DC 20024-9998