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New Study Confirms Link Between Obesity and Rising Medical Costs

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity there is an undeniable link between rising rates of obesity and rising medical spending. The health cost of obesity in the United States is as high as $147 billion annually, based on a new study, “Annual Medical Spending Attributable to Obesity: Payer-and Service-Specific Estimates,” from Research Triangle Institute (RTI) and the CDC.

The CDC has issued its first comprehensive set of evidence-based recommendations to help communities tackle the problem of obesity through programs and policies that promote healthy eating and physical activity.  The report, “Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity in the United States (the Measures Project),” states that obesity is now an epidemic in the U.S. and identifies potential environmental and policy level strategies for obesity prevention. Approximately two thirds of adults and one fifth of children are obese or overweight in this country.

The Measures Project was guided by a systematic process that included expert opinion and a review of the published scientific literature, resulting in the adoption of 24 recommended strategies to prevent obesity. The report describes each of the recommended strategies, summarizes available evidence regarding their effectiveness, and presents a suggested measurement for each strategy that communities can use to assess implementation and track progress over time. The project is a collaborative effort by the CDC and funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, and the CDC Foundation.

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