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Addressing America’s Obesity Epidemic

Panel explores options to improve prevention and provide access to better treatmentWashington, D.C. (July 31, 2013) – The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) today hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill with representatives of the American Medical Association, the YMCA of the USA and the STOP Obesity Alliance focusing on the growing impact of obesity and obesity-related chronic disease to U.S. health care system.“As evidenced by the American Medical Association declaration of obesity as a disease and numerous pieces of legislation in Congress, addressing America’s obesity epidemic is critical. In light of this pressing concern, strong collaboration across government, private organizations and individuals is needed in order to advance effective solutions and make progress with interventions that truly make a difference,” said Kenneth Thorpe, PhD, PFCD Chairman.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic disease accounts for about 82 percent of the nation's health care spending. Obesity is a primary driver of chronic disease, and two out of every three adults in the U.S. is obese or overweight. With the growth in obesity – especially among younger Americans – the diagnosis of childhood chronic diseases has almost quadrupled since 1960, and rates of chronic disease are expected to continue to rise. The medical care costs of obesity in 2008 totaled about $147 billion. If current trends continue, total U.S. healthcare costs associated with obesity could grow to as much as $957 billion by 2030.“Fostering an environment supportive of healthy practices and medically necessary treatment is undeniably important, and addressing obesity can only help to support healthier outcomes throughout our health care system, both medically and fiscally,” continued Thorpe. “In coming together to discuss obesity, its impact and the many ways in which we can work to better manage and prevent it, we are hopefully empowering not just policymakers and thought leaders, but patients and providers as well.”“By 2020, half of our U.S. population is likely to suffer from one or more chronic diseases, a majority of them weight-related. We simply cannot control health care spending without addressing Americans' weight,” stated Tommy G. Thompson, former Wisconsin Governor and Secretary of Health and Human Services. “We absolutely must use all tools available to us to treat and prevent obesity.”This briefing is part of an ongoing series of timely discussions focused on proactively identifying and advancing approaches to health care that address all facets of chronic disease, the number one cause of death, disability and rising costs.Partnership to Fight Chronic DiseaseThe Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is an internationally-recognized NGO of patients, providers, community organizations, business and labor groups, and health policy experts committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs: chronic disease. For a collection of statistics and commentary on the impact of chronic disease, please visit Contact:Jennifer Burke301.801.9847