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Federal health official marks progress fighting obesity
05.16.2012The nation has made significant progress fighting rising obesity rates in recent years, but more work is needed to bring the problem under control, according to recent comments from Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Speaking at the Weight of the Nation conference in Washington, DC, which was organized to highlight efforts being made to battle obesity, Sebelius said that initiatives like Michelle Obama's Let's Move Campaign have helped raise awareness of the threat of obesity.
Additionally, provisions in the Affordable Care Act are making it easier for individuals to access preventive health screenings and encouraging businesses to offer wellness programs to their employees.
However, these types of initiatives are relatively small in comparison to the size of the obesity epidemic. Sebelius pointed out that more people now live in the suburbs than ever before, which makes them more dependent on cars to get around. Furthermore, some of the least healthy food options are also the least expensive.
These two trends contribute to a culture that encourages unhealthy lifestyles, which inevitably lead to obesity and the chronic health problems that often come with being overweight. Battling these factors will be difficult, as they have become ingrained in the culture. But Sebelius said that with concerted efforts from government and private groups real progress can be made.
Currently, about two-thirds of all adults are overweight or obese. To make matters worse, one-third of children are overweight or obese. Despite the progress made fighting weight problems in recent years, it will take a significant amount of work to reverse these trends. Healthcare and wellness programs could help individuals keep their own weight in check.
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