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Sebelius Shares Ideas to Fight Obesity

By Amy Kuras |

sebeliusIt’s no surprise to anyone who’s been, well, out in public pretty much ever, that there’s a serious obesity epidemic in this country. Two out of every three American adults are overweight and so are one out of five children. Obesity in childhood can lead to a host of health problems later in life, and is the biggest single market for later developing diabetes.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius spoke at a conference on obesity and prevention this week, and touted some new strategies suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help combat the obesity epidemic.

Among them are bringing more grocery stores to underserved areas, expanding schools’ physical education choices, and encouraging breast feeding.

I feel uniquely qualified to comment here since I actually do fit in the obese category. These are all good ideas, especially increasing access to good food. In my city, which has an increasingly shrinking number of grocery stores, it’s more unusual to see a skinny kid than a really fat one. When the only store within walking distance is a gas station, that’s where you’re shopping.

But I think more needs to be done. For example, some believe that the endocrine disruptors in BPA and phalates are causing more obesity, which to me makes some sense. Stuff that used to be packaged in glass or paper is increasingly now packaged in plastic, and it’s at least possible that’s having some effect on increasing obesity rates.

And if you look at the statistics on weight loss, the vast majority of people who lose weight end up gaining it back, and more (hello!). And the average weight loss? Ten pounds. Something is going on here, and I wish more attention was being paid to biological causes instead of just behavioral ones.

But simply making it easier for people to take those first steps, like take a walk or find decent food, won’t hurt and will probably help. Some of the $1 billion in stimulus funds appropriated for disease prevention will go towards implementing these, Sebelius said.

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About Amy Kuras

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Amy Kuras

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0 thoughts on “Sebelius Shares Ideas to Fight Obesity

  1. K and R's Mommy says:

    We also need to encourage some personal accountability in this country…in my line of work I see MANY overweight and obese people, and very few of them say “I know I am this way because I eat X all day”. More often they want a magic pill that will help the fat disappear while they continue to eat high fat foods. There ARE biological factors at play, as well, most definitely. As a country, though (and I include myself!), we need to stop making excuses and blaming others (“it’s McDonald’s fault I’m fat”) and start being responsible for our own well being

  2. zaksmom says:

    Instead of blaming, let’s focus on potential solutions. Perhaps the overweight folk you see don’t purposely eat junk all day- but they lack access to fresh produce and whole grains. Such is true in the neighborhood where I grew up. With America’s car culture, many areas aren’t pedestrian friendly. I love walking, but I’m not going for a walk my neighborhood with my son, as half the streets lack sidewalks. There’s a difference between blaming McD’s for your obesity and not being able to find a fresh veggie within several miles of your door.

  3. Kim says:

    This study is pretty interesting… it says that 62% of adult Americans are classified as “obese” according to the government standard… it also mentions that most “healthy weight” Americans feel that obese individuals should have to pay higher insurance premiums: http://mediacurves.com/HealthCare/J7474b-FatTax/Index.cfm

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