The Campaign to End Obesity

Today, two-thirds of U.S. adults and nearly one in three children struggle because they are overweight or have obesity. The effects of the nation’s obesity epidemic are immense: taxpayers, businesses, communities and individuals spend hundreds of billions of dollars each year due to obesity, including nearly $200 billion in medical costs. Obesity is the reason that the current generation of youth is predicted to live a shorter life than their parents. 

Much can be done to reverse the epidemic, yet important opportunities to tackle obesity at the national policy level -- including changes that enable more Americans to eat healthy and be active, as well as those that provide appropriate medical treatment for patients -- have gone largely unmet. The Campaign works to fill this gap. By bringing together leaders from across industry, academia and public health with policymakers and their advisors, the Campaign provides the information and guidance that decision-makers need to make policy changes that will reverse one of the nation’s costliest and most prevalent diseases.


The Campaign to End Obesity
Five Things Businesses Can Do To Fight Obesity
Bloomberg News, 04.14.16
Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, putting them at increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. It’s a public health problem too big for the public health system to solve. Increasingly, businesses are asking what they can do to fight obesity among their employees, customers, and communities. It was the subject of an April 12 meeting at the National Academy of Sciences. After all, employers pay for obesity in their health-care costs, so they should have some incentive to figure out solutions.
Why Have Healthcare Companies and Physicians Failed to Solve the Obesity Epidemic
Medcity News, 04.13.16
For decades, individuals struggling with weight have been told to eat a healthy diet and exercise, and the pounds will come off. But the truth is that both companies and doctors are failing at helping people actually achieve weight loss. The numbers don’t lie. We’re not making a dent in our overweight population and, what’s worse, obesity has more than doubled between 1980 and 2015, with now nearly two billion overweight or obese living around the world.
Insurers Take on Obesity Prevention
Healthcare Dive, 04.13.16
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of adults and around 17% of children and adolescents in the U.S. are obese. It’s well known preventing obesity can ultimately save the healthcare system millions of dollars, but is there any financial payback for insurers? Dr. David Ludwig, director of the new Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Children’s Hospital, Boston, thinks not. He told Kaiser Health News that there’s no real incentive for payers to cover better obesity prevention and treatment because the costs are immediate and the benefits are long-term. According to Ludwig “it doesn’t make a lot of sense for individual plans when families change policies every three to five years.”
Fat? Your Doctor Can't Help
U.S. News & World Report, 04.12.16
When doctors diagnose health problems in patients, they tend to offer solutions: antibiotics for an infection, surgery to remove a tumor, insulin for diabetes. But for the most part that doesn't happen when the diagnosis is obesity. While doctors are getting better at informing their patients when their body mass index is too high, they often do not tell them how to lose weight, even though a range of options – including medication, gym memberships, a nutrition program like Weight Watchers, or referral to a weight-loss specialist or surgeon – are available. Many doctors report they don't have time to talk to patients about weight loss strategies, while others struggle with being overweight themselves and feel uncomfortable broaching the subject with a patient. Many doctors simply haven't been trained.
Overcoming Stigma Essential For Improving Payer Coverage of Obesity
American Journal of Managed Care, 04.09.16
Only 5% of patients with obesity who lose weight keep it off. Coverage for obesity drugs is improving, but remains uncommon. Only a tiny fraction of the candidates for bariatric surgery have the operation, in part because 70% of physicians won’t give referrals. All this leaves 93% of those who live with obesity with unmet medical needs, according to Janine V. Kyrillos, MD, an obesity specialist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Kyrillos led off Friday's session on the needs of those with obesity at Patient-Centered Diabetes Care, presented by The American Journal of Managed Care. Speakers and panelists explained how many patients with diabetes live with obesity as well, and while these are distinct diseases, their effects overlap. There’s a key difference, however. The stigma associated with obesity—the idea that patients “did this to themselves”—still pervades thinking among many physicians, insurers, and employers, despite the 2013 declaration by the American Medical Association that obesity is a disease.
More news

New Release: The New Markets Tax Credit: Opportunities for Investment
in Healthy Foods and Physical Activity

Click here for additional information

CBO Scoring Misses Billions of Dollars in Potential Long-Term Savings from Effective Obesity Prevention Policies

Click here for additional information.

Read More

To learn more about changes in federal policy that will enable more Americans to eat healthy and be active, as well as those that provide appropriate medical treatment for patients, visit the Campaign to End Obesity Action Fund's website by clicking here.  

* In 2010, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that nearly 20 percent of the increase in U.S. health care spending (from 1987‐2007) was caused by obesity.

* The annual health costs related to obesity in the U.S. are nearly $200 billion, and nearly 21 percent of U.S. medical costs can be attributed on obesity, according to research released by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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