Lots to Lose

How America's Health and Obesity Crisis Threatens our Economic Future

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In short, obesity is the most urgent public health problem in America today. It is a primary reason why life expectancy in large parts of the United States is already several years lower than in other advanced countries around the world. For millions of Americans, it means many more years – even decades –of sharply reduced quality of life. More broadly, the costs of obesity and chronic disease have become a major drag on our economy. Escalating health care costs are the main driver of our spiraling national debt, and obesity-related illness comprises an increasingly large share of our massive health costs. The obesity crisis is therefore not just a health crisis, but a major contributor to our fiscal crisis.

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Supply Chain

Food and Farm Policy
Feb. 22, 2013

Historically, farm and agriculture policies were, at most, tangentially influenced by considerations of diet, nutrition and health. This has begun to change.

Preventive Care

Healthy Communities
Feb. 22, 2013

Rising health care costs have prompted growing interest in disease prevention as a more effective and less expensive way to keep Americans healthy.

Ties That Bind

Healthy Families
Feb. 22, 2013

For most people, healthy patterns of diet and physical activity begin at home. In fact, recent studies indicate that the general health and obesity of parents is a powerful indicator for the health outcomes of children.

Childhood Environment

Healthy Schools
Feb. 22, 2013

Children spend significant amounts of time in school or in childcare facilities outside the home so these settings afford an important opportunity to influence the health and lifestyle choices of the next generation.

Economic Impact

Healthy Workplaces
Feb. 22, 2013

For many, the workplace is second only to home in terms of impact on lifestyle choices. Fortunately, growing numbers of employers are seeing the connection between healthier workers and productivity.

The Message

Public Awareness and Marketing
Feb. 22, 2013

The food industry spends billions of dollars each year marketing products to American consumers. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), as much as $10 billion per year is spent just to market food to children.

Case Study

U.S. Department of Defense Initiatives
Feb. 22, 2013

Following the end of World War II, President Truman worried about the impact of poor nutrition on the health of military recruits and draftees. In response, he and others launched the National School Lunch Program during the late 1940s and 1950s. More than two generations later, nutrition and health have again emerged as important threats to our nation’s military readiness.

Across the Web

Clearinghouse Resources
Feb. 22, 2013

BPC has compiled a list of organizations, guides, and online tools that span the nutrition and physical activity spectrum. Leaders and individuals, schools, employers and institutions, healthcare professionals, and researchers will find useful links that will help them share engaging content and begin to take action on the <em>Lots to Lose</em> recommendations.