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The expanding obesity problem.

During the past 20 years obesity in America has increased dramatically. As of 2005, 60.5 percent of adults were overweight and 30 percent were obese. (A person is considered obese with a body mass index of at least 30, overweight is a BMI between 25 and 29.9.) Obesity increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallbladder disease, arthritis, breathing problems, and some forms of cancer, including endometrial, gallbladder, cervical, ovarian, breast, colorectal and prostate. Medical costs attributable to obesity were $75 billion in 2003, and approximately half of these costs were paid by taxpayers through Medicaid and Medicare. Together, overweight and obesity affect about 66 million Americans and account for 9.1 percent of the nation's total health care costs. Another $33 billion is spent annually on weight reduction products and services by around 40 percent of American women and 29 percent of American men. To reduce obesity in the United States, a combination of activities are underway by policymakers, schools, health agencies, businesses, the media, communities, families and individuals to educate and motivate people to make healthier choices. Legislators can support physically active lifestyles and healthy eating through policies, programs and environmental

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Publication:State Legislatures
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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