Senators Carper, Murkowski, Representatives Cassidy, Kind Introduce Bill to Help Reduce Obesity
12:47p ET June 19, 2013 (Benzinga)
On the heels of the American Medical Association's decision to officially recognize obesity as a disease, Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Reps. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.) introduced legislation today to help lower health care costs and prevent chronic diseases by addressing America's growing obesity crisis. The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act gives Medicare beneficiaries and their health care providers additional tools to reduce obesity by improving access to weight-loss counseling and new prescription drugs for chronic weight management, among other provisions.
Health care costs related to obesity total nearly $200 billion each year. Furthermore, nearly 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, and 42 percent of Americans are projected to become obese by 2030. Obesity increases the risk for chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
“Seven in ten adults struggle with obesity and being overweight, and more than a third of children are overweight or obese. These facts demand that we do more to combat the obesity epidemic,” said Senator Carper. “Not only are these Americans more vulnerable to chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, disability and stroke, but as a country we're spending almost $200 billion a year to treat obesity and its related conditions. If we continue to stand idly by while more and more people become overweight and obese, for the first time in our country's history our children will live shorter lives than we adults do. We have a responsibility to ensure that our vital health care programs, like Medicare and Tricare, provide Americans with every available treatment and tool for reducing obesity's physical and financial costs, and the federal government must have a robust strategy for reining in this epidemic. I look forward to working with my colleagues in both chambers to pass this important bill.”