Both the House and Senate bills mandate calorie counts at fast-food restaurants
In 2018, more than half the adults in
By Thorpe's calculations, within a decade, nearly 1 of every 5 dollars spent on healthcare in
"It's certainly a wake-up call," Thorpe says. "To see you've got six states within 10 years of the majority of the adult population being considered obese--that's a pretty remarkable statistic."
He added, "I think there is a growing recognition that a key driver of rising healthcare costs is the explosion of chronic diseases linked to rising rates of obesity." According to his study, if obesity rates were kept constant, the country could save $200 billion a year by 2018.
But how much attention is
For the most part, the Democrats' healthcare reform legislation focuses on insurance coverage and insurance reforms.
But experts say there are proposals on the table that at least begin to address the obesity problem. In one of the more
far-reaching approaches, both the House bill, which passed earlier this month, and Senate Majority Leader
It's a concept that's been tried out on a smaller scale with some success, most notably in
The menu labels are "an important first step toward educating the public on calories," says
Reid's bill also sets aside $25 million for projects aimed at curbing childhood obesity, while the House plan has a pilot program that would award grants to communities for public-health campaigns. And both would give incentives to doctors to spend more time helping patients make healthy lifestyle choices. But many of these programs are still small or poorly funded.
One place where Democrats clearly took a pass was a proposal to impose a federal tax on sodas and sugary drinks. About a dozen states have adopted such taxes, and in poll after poll this summer, voters ranked the soda tax as one of their favorite options for financing healthcare reform. But the tax was vigorously opposed by the powerful beverage lobby, which said that it would adversely affect poor people and would not change consumer behavior. And so it disappeared.
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Healthcare - Congress Fights Obesity With Healthcare Bills
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