Virginia Congressman Jim Moran, Co-Chair of the Congressional Prevention Caucus, welcomed the release of a new report by the Partnership for Prevention and discussed legislation he has introduced to address the national epidemic of childhood obesity at briefing today on Capitol Hill.
“Childhood obesity has reached epidemic levels and so have the costs associated with it. Children are becoming obese at an increasingly early age,” said Moran. “We must make addressing childhood obesity a national priority.”
According to the Center for Disease Prevention, the rate of obesity has more than doubled for children aged 2 to 11 years and more than tripled for adolescents aged 12 to 19 years. Current data shows that 32 percent of children are overweight, 16 percent are obese, and 11 percent are extremely obese.
The report, “Future Cost of Obesity: National and State Estimates of the Impact of Obesity on Direct Health Care Expenses”, is the first to estimate obesity prevalence and costs at the state and national level 10 years from now. Based on research by Emory University health care economist Dr. Ken Thorpe, Executive Director of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, the report showed that obesity is growing faster than any previous health issue the nation has faced. If trends continue, 103 million Americans will be considered obese by 2018 and related healthcare costs will be more than $340 billion.
“This is not just about helping Americans today, it’s about protecting future generations,” said Moran. “The obesity crisis cannot and will not be solved without the full support of the federal government. The Healthy Kids Act is a step in the right direction.”
The Healthy Kids Act would establish a federal mechanism to monitor and grade the healthiness of food served to schoolchildren and impose reasonable regulations on the marketing of foodstuff. The bill’s endorsers include: Children Now, Binge Eating Disorder Association, Career and Community Leaders of America and Altarum.