A special committee on performance-based disease management programs for large populations meets today.
It's a long title for an idea which simply promotes a private-public partnership to help curtail obesity and chronic disease among Wisconsinites.
State Representative Steve Wieckert (R-Appleton) is putting together a study group of experts to discuss the role states, schools and health care providers play in addressing the challenging issue of obesity.
"In fact, over half the cost of medical care provided to citizens in Wisconsin is due to lifestyle problems such as smoking and obesity."
Wieckert ( pronounce ) wants to focus his attention on childhood obesity, because once a habit is formed, it's hard to break it. The Appleton Republican wants to encourage prevention, and find ways to treat chronic diseases very aggressively when they do occur. The question is, 'how?'
Wieckert includes on his legislative council doctors, educators, legislators and citizens. He says addressing obesity is almost like curing cancer.
"The experts tell us that there's not going to be one silver bullet … that it's going to be a lot of different treatments that will finally result in the cure and prevention. I think that's true with childhood obesity and the works. There's going to be an incremental approach and the more good things we can put into a person's lifestyle the better it is."
For example, he says, having more healthful foods in vending machines at schools, more gym time, more recess time, better school lunch program, and more education. Wieckert says it's a multifaceted problem, and his measure could act as a clearing house for various healthy lifestyle ideas around the state.
Listeners are encouraged to attend Thursday's Joint Legislative Council Committee hearing (July 24) at 10:00 a.m., in Room 412 East, at the State Capitol, Madison.