Satcher to combat obesity

March 1, 2001

Pharmaceutical Representative

Surgeon General David Satcher announced a year-long effort to develop a national action plan for reducing the prevalence of obesity in the United States. Satcher said the process would be inclusive and collaborative, and would include open public comment periods, listening sessions, federal and non-federal dialogue, interactive workshops, and the formation of working groups to implement strategies.

Surgeon General David Satcher announced a year-long effort to develop a national action plan for reducing the prevalence of obesity in the United States. Satcher said the process would be inclusive and collaborative, and would include open public comment periods, listening sessions, federal and non-federal dialogue, interactive workshops, and the formation of working groups to implement strategies.

"The prevalence of overweight and obesity has nearly doubled among children and adolescents since 1980," Satcher told public health and industry leaders attending an international nutrition conference. "It is also increasing in both genders and among all population groups of adults. We want to establish strategies and set priorities so that we can successfully implement obesity prevention efforts that focus on the family and community, schools, work sites, the healthcare delivery system and the media."

Several follow-up events will continue efforts to develop a national action plan. An invitational, interactive workshop to further develop strategies and stimulate collaboration is in the planning stages. A meeting of federal agencies will begin dialogue to develop a coordinated federal approach. Further opportunity for public input in development of the plan is envisioned during 2001.

Obesity substantially raises the risk of illness from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, gallbladder disease, arthritis, sleep disturbances and breathing problems, and certain types of cancer. On average, higher body weights are associated with higher death rates. The number of overweight children, adolescents and adults has risen over the past four decades. Total costs (medical costs and lost productivity) attributable to obesity alone amounted to an estimated $99 billion in 1995. PR