February 10, 2016

Kind aims to reduce obesity

Nearly 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, increasing the risk for such diseases as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. U.S. Representative Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) says by addressing the growing obesity crisis, this legislation would help lower health care costs and prevent chronic diseases.

“We’re spending over $160 billion a year in our health care system treating chronic disease management,” Kind says, “most of it is obesity related. So, more needs to be done.”

A recent report shows Wisconsin seniors are expected to live longer, but they’ll be sicker. In the Badger State, 80 percent of seniors have four or more chronic conditions which leads to big health care costs.

The American Medical Association recently decided to officially recognize obesity as a disease. Kind says his Treat and Reduce Obesity Act gives Medicare beneficiaries and their health care providers better access to good nutrition, exercise activities, and treatment to deal with obesity, including new prescription drugs and weight-loss counseling services. Plus, he says, there has to be better data sharing.

Kind explains, there are many reasons to pursue this legislation. “Not the least of which is rising health care costs is the largest and fastest area of spending at the federal, state, and local level, and for most businesses and families alike.”

Considering the risk pool, Kind says we all have a role to play in our own personal health care decisions and how we can reduce costs for everyone.

The report from United Health Foundation released last month shows a number of chronic conditions, like heart disease and diabetes, can be prevented or treated earlier.

AUDIO: (48 seconds) Congressman Ron Kind does not advocate for banning large soft drinks or junk food; instead, he believes in making good personal choices. He has always been a big proponent of targeting the children while they’re young enough to pick up the good habits that promote a healthful lifestyle.

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