The federal government’s stimulus plan isn’t just for the fat cats of Wall Street. It’s also being aimed at reversing our country’s obesity epidemic.
The Obama administration is going to provide states and local governments with money to control obesity, which will include investing in public transportation to encourage more walking, says Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Sebelius says that the majority of the $1 billion stimulus plan appropriated by Congress for disease prevention would go to a CDC-planned initiative to fight obesity, heart disease and other chronic conditions.
The money can also go to boost or create programs to get more fruits and vegetables into school lunches and encourage grocery stores to sell more fresh produce in poorer communities.
“We’re spending just under 150 billion dollars a year on health conditions related to obesity,” Sebelius told the first-ever national conference on obesity to be organized by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We have a situation where health conditions related to obesity have nearly twice the cost-impact on the health system as all the cancers combined in this country.”
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While citizens are responsible for their own health, the environment that we live is a factor, too. Much of the food supply is unhealthy, and we drive too much. If work is done on both sides – citizens and government – maybe we can make some progress.