"The only way to show real savings in health expenditures in the future is through efforts to reduce the prevalence of obesity and related health conditions," Finkelstein said.
Hoping to turn the tide of the obesity epidemic, the CDC is taking several steps it hopes will alert people to the problem and get Americans to make the changes need to reduce obesity.
Among the strategies the CDC is promoting are making healthy food more available, encouraging more choices of healthy foods, encouraging breast-feeding, encouraging physical activity and creating sites in communities that support physical activity, Dr. William H. Dietz, director of CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, said during the press conference.
"These recommendations, I believe, set the foundation for the community interventions necessary to reverse this problem in the United States," Dietz said.
One of the biggest problems facing Americans is soaring consumption of soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks, which add almost 150 calories to the daily diet, Frieden said.
Frieden believes that taxing sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks will help cut down on consumption and raise revenues that can be used to fight the obesity epidemic.
The upshot of Monday's meeting is that stemming the obesity epidemic is going to take a societal effort.
"Reversing obesity is not going to be done successfully with individual effort," Frieden said. "We did not get to this situation over the past three decades because of any change in our genetics or any change in our food preferences. We got to this stage of the epidemic because of a change in our environment and only a change in our environment again will allow us to get back to a healthier place," he said.
HHS head Sebelius agreed. "These are investments that can be made at the neighborhood, city, and stat
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