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With Obesity Key Driver of Rising Health Care Costs, National Business Group on Health Urges Tax Code Changes
Date:5/7/2009

WASHINGTON, May 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Underscoring the enormous strain that obesity places on our nation's health care system and economy at-large, the National Business Group on Health today released new data from Dr. Kenneth Thorpe documenting the staggering costs associated with obesity and called on Congress to make important tax changes to encourage employees to participate in employer-sponsored health and wellness programs. As part of the briefing, Dr. J. Brent Pawlecki of Pitney Bowes highlighted its innovative and nationally recognized strategies in combating obesity among its 35,000 employees.

"While employers have made great strides in emphasizing prevention, health, and wellness, far too many American workers are still obese and placing great strains on the system," said Helen Darling, President of the National Business Group on Health (NBGH). "Obesity and related complications add hundreds of billions of dollars to our nation's health tab annually and are pushing our health system - and with it, our economy - to the brink. We urge policymakers to take swift action to make common-sense tax code changes that help encourage workers to take greater advantage of workplace health and wellness programs and develop other programs and policies that will accelerate the reduction in obesity, especially among our vulnerable children."

Economic Impact of Obesity

In the past twenty-five years, adult obesity in the United States has doubled and childhood obesity has tripled. In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that more than one-third of adults in the United States, over 72 million people, were obese. A new study released today, "Weighty Matters: How Obesity Drives Poor Health and Health Spending," and conducted by Kenneth Thorpe, Ph.D., Robert W. Woodruff Professor and Chair, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory Unive
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SOURCE National Business Group on Health
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