At a press conference yesterday, BPC’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative released a landmark report entitled, Lots to Lose: How America’s Health and Obesity Crisis Threatens our Economic Future
The event featured the initiative’s bipartisan group of four former U.S. cabinet secretaries: Dan Glickman and Ann M. Veneman, former secretaries of Agriculture; and Mike Leavitt and Donna E. Shalala, former secretaries of Health and Human Services.
The report identifies actionable steps the public and private sectors can take to reduce rising health care costs associated with the decline of our nation’s physical health and nutrition.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, increased health care costs associated with obesity in the U.S. have risen to as much as $147 billion annually or one-fifth of all health care spending. These rising costs occur as the nation struggles to get a handle on its rising debt, maintain its global competitiveness and create jobs. Lots to Lose showcases the best opportunities for collaborative action in four priority areas: families; schools and communities; workplaces, large institutions and health care providers; and the public sector, including the U.S. military.
Quotes of the Day
Dan Glickman: “We offer our recommendations as proof that Republicans and Democrats can work together to improve the nation’s physical and fiscal health. There is no silver bullet. But we have identified numerous steps that show what is possible. We must all take action to beat this threat. America cannot afford for the obesity crisis to go unnoticed any longer.” Mike Leavitt: “We strongly believe that every sector has a role to play. Change will require leadership from all quarters. And diet is not the only thing that needs to change. Learning to be active early on, and staying active throughout our lifetimes, is critical to reducing obesity and chronic disease. To improve our performance in school, at work, and in the global economy, local public and private sector partners need to use existing infrastructure and leverage existing resources to increase physical activity.”
Donna E. Shalala: “Doctors, nurses and health care professionals are uniquely positioned to inform and motivate Americans on the importance of good nutrition and physical activity. We recommend that all forms of medical education incorporate nutrition and physical activity training as part of the curriculum. We have an opportunity to reach lots of people where they work, attend school and exercise – and we must provide healthier food choices in those environments.”
Ann M. Veneman: “Improving health outcomes early in life is a critical element in helping to shift our current health care system toward prevention. In this era of fiscal constraint, we must establish and sustain practices that will improve health for all age groups. But improving health outcomes in early childhood through expanded dietary and physical activity guidelines, increased breastfeeding and improved opportunities in childcare settings is the most strategic, cost-effective way to prioritize our resources.”
What They Are Saying
Read statements of support for Lots to Lose here.