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Kaiser Permanente Calls for Health Policy Support and Community Advocacy to Curb Childhood Obesity
Date:6/11/2009

Healthy Environment and Communities Critical to Wellness Efforts

LOS ANGELES, June 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente's presence this week at the National Childhood Obesity Conference in Los Angeles highlights the need for a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach to stop the health crisis caused by childhood obesity. More than 15 million children are obese or overweight in the United States, contributing to skyrocketing type 2 diabetes rates and more than $14 billion in health care expenses.

In multiple conference sessions, representatives from Kaiser Permanente are illustrating how community-based policy and environmental changes are complementing clinical prevention strategies to address the obesity epidemic. These sessions will showcase solutions that are making a difference in communities across the country.

"We are encouraged by the increasing realization that health reform needs to be about more than coverage. Real reform needs to emphasize prevention and wellness if we are really to address the major drivers of disease, and health care costs," said Raymond J. Baxter, Ph.D., senior vice president, Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy at Kaiser Permanente. "As a nation, we need to improve access to care, reduce costs and ensure quality care for all, while strengthening the ways our communities, schools and workplaces can, in fact, keep us healthy."

Research has shown that where people live affects both childhood obesity rates and chronic health conditions at all ages, including type 2 diabetes, asthma and heart disease, which often accompany obesity. Primary prevention often averts the onset of disease and results in cost savings and the alleviation of pressure on the health care system.

A holistic view of prevention needs to target policies and other community changes that can create more opportunities for healthy eating and active living. These strat
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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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