Frist to Propose Legislation to Address Obesity Among Children
Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) plans to introduce a bill to address the nationwide trend toward obesity, the AP/Nashville Tennessean reports. Frist, a physician by training, said that he may propose to increase federal funds for school grants for physical education programs. In addition, he said that he hopes to restore $125 million in funds for a CDC program that encourages children to participate in physical activities. Frist said that he would not propose a "fat tax" or require restaurants to list calories on their menus. A report released last December by former Surgeon General David Satcher found that 300,000 Americans die each year from illnesses related to obesity. "Obviously this is important to me. I've got to figure out some way to reverse the trends," Frist said. According to the AP/Tennessean, food industry officials "are nervously waiting to see the details" of Frist's legislation (AP/Nashville Tennessean, 5/8).
A San Francisco Chronicle article on Sunday examined the issue of childhood obesity in the United States, a trend that has led to an increased number of "adult ailments," such as Type II diabetes, hypertension and heart attacks, in children. The number of "severely overweight" U.S. children has doubled since 1980, and the CDC reported earlier this month that hospital costs related to childhood obesity have more than tripled in the past 20 years to $127 million. The Chronicle reports that "almost everything about modern life" -- including fewer physical education classes in schools, increased computer use, increased consumption of "fast food" and school lunches "loaded with fat" -- has contributed to the problem (Severson/May, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/12). The complete article is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.