Treating Obesity-Related Illnesses Could ‘Bankrupt’ Health Care System, USA Today Reports
As more people in the United States become overweight and obese, an increasing percentage of the population will develop diabetes, and treating the disease and its "catastrophic health consequences" could "bankrupt the health care system," USA Today reports. According to John Foreyt of the Baylor College of Medicine, almost everyone living in the United States could be overweight by 2030. "I think everyone is going to get fat. The obesity epidemic is going to continue. I believe that. I'm not just talking to be alarmist. And it's not just cosmetic; it's a serious problem," Foreyt said. The weight gain across the population is likely to contribute to increasing health care costs, USA Today reports. Obesity-related illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease, and "indirect costs" such as lost worker productivity, cost about $123 billion in 2001, according to Anne Wolf of the University of Virginia (Hellmich/Manning, USA Today, 10/24).
In related news, PBS' "NOW with Bill Moyers" tonight will include a segment on the CDC's nationwide advertising campaign designed to fighting obesity among children (Hughes, "NOW with Bill Moyers," PBS, 10/25). The $125 million effort, which is aimed at children ages nine through 13, emphasizes action verbs that are related to activity and exercise. The ads, which feature the tag line "VERB. It's what you do," feature computer-generated, child-like figures formed out of the letters of action words. The ads appear on youth-oriented stations, including Nickelodeon and MTV, as well as on billboards, in magazines and in other media outlets. The campaign also has its own Web site at www.verbnow.com (California Healthline, 7/18). The segment includes comments from HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, Harvard University Psychologist Susan Linn and Children's Hospital Boston's Optimal Weight for Life Program Director Dr. David Ludwig. The show's Web site includes statistics on children and obesity, links to related resources and a transcript of the segment. Check local PBS listings for show times ("NOW with Bill Moyers," PBS, 10/25).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.