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2013-2

Addressing the Obesity Epidemic in America

Representative Louis Ruiz (KS) Health Care Task Force

WHEREAS, America must confront the scourge of a dire epidemic, with more than one-third (35.7 percent) of Americans being considered obese by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;

WHEREAS, the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) has previous policy addressing obesity prevention and mitigation, such as HHS-11-19, “Supporting Increased Access to Quality Nutrition and Support for Infants and Children,” and HHS-10-11, “A Resolution Recognizing the Prevalence of Excess Weight and Obesity within the African-American and Latino Community, and its Impact on Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease and Urging Innovative and Improved Solutions,”;

WHEREAS, nearly two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese and certain demographic and socioeconomic groups, like African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and the impoverished are impacted disproportionately by obesity;

WHEREAS, unfortunately, these groups often lack the needed information and resources to address this situation;

WHEREAS, obesity has eclipsed smoking as the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and this condition has significantly increased the mortality or morbidity rates for conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon), hypertension (high blood pressure), dyslipidemia, stroke, liver and gallbladder disease, sleep apnea and respiratory problems, osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint), and gynecological problems (abnormal menses and infertility);

WHEREAS, obesity has significantly reduced the quality and years of life for millions of people in this country and throughout the world;

WHEREAS, obesity and the co-morbid conditions described above have significantly impacted our country’s economy as well;

WHEREAS, these costs will continue to have an extraordinarily high financial impact on our economy, as medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion in 2008;

WHEREAS, direct costs include preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services, indirect costs include both mortality and morbidity costs, including the value of income lost from decreased productivity, restricted activity, absenteeism, and bed days; and



WHEREAS, while the economic impact is significant, the personal financial impact is great as well, and according to Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who are obese spend almost $1,500 more each year on health care (about 41 percent more than the average-weight person).

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) encourages the development of weight management programs designed to help consumers address their health conditions to improve the quantity and quality of life for millions of Americans;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the development of such programs should take into consideration the many contributing factors at play in causing obesity, including metabolic, genetic, emotional, physiological, behavioral, environmental, cultural, and socioeconomic factors;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the development of such programs should bring together four of the most significant resources, which if properly coordinated, will result in measurable improvements in the health of individuals suffering from conditions related to obesity, including physician/doctor, restaurant/eating, fitness center/gym, and supplementation resources;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NHCSL applauds the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and the steps taken by First Lady Michelle Obama with the Let’s Move! initiative;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NHCSL encourages legislators to take steps in their own states to address obesity in their communities to encourage healthier lifestyles and raise awareness; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, members of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate, and other federal and state government officials as appropriate.

THIS RESOLUTION WAS ADOPTED ON APRIL 20, 2013, AT THE NHCSL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD IN PHILADELPHIA, PENSYLVANIA AND RATIFIED ON NOVEMBER 16, 2013 AT THE NHCSL ANNUAL MEETING HELD IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA.

SPONSORED BY: Representative Louis Ruiz (KS)