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Curbing Obesity Epidemic Key to Health Care Reform: Experts
Date:9/11/2009

Overweight is major contributing factor for chronic disease, U.S. health groups say

FRIDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A diverse alliance of payer, provider and consumer organizations, girded by two former U.S. Surgeons General, on Wednesday urged policymakers to address the nation's obesity epidemic as part of federal health care reform legislation.

"At this critical juncture where we're dealing with health-care transformation, we want to make sure that the federal government and our elected leaders recognize the importance of including approaches to obesity that are evidence-based and proven within their legislative strategy," former Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona told reporters during a media briefing.

Carmona serves as the health and wellness chairperson of the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance, whose steering committee includes the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, among other public and private organizations.

The alliance is funded by drug makers Sanofi-Aventis U.S. L.L.C. and Amylin Pharmaceuticals.

Former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, whose 2001 report on obesity recognized the problem as an "epidemic," emphasized the need to invest in health promotion and disease prevention, particularly for the health of the nation's youth.

"We are in essence addicting our children to sedentary lifestyles; we're addicting them to high-salt, high-sweet, high-fat diets," he said, "and then we pay for it later on when they come to us with cancer, heart disease, [and] diabetes."

America's weight problem is pervasive. Two-thirds of the population is now overweight and obese, according to the CDC, and as many as 72 million adults are considered obese. In fact, obesity rates have doubled for adults and tripled for children since
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