Speaking at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Weight of the Nation conference earlier this week, former President Bill Clinton called attention to the growing healthcare costs related to obesity in the United States and the urgent need for better prevention, assessment, and treatment of the childhood obesity epidemic.
Citing new CDC data which find that obesity costs the nation as much as $147 billion a year in direct healthcare costs and lost productivity, Clinton highlighted the work of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation that promotes innovations to significantly reduce childhood obesity in America by 2015. Launched in February, the alliance's healthcare initiative is working to provide eligible children with up to eight visits a year with their primary care provider and a registered dietitian to help children and their families establish and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
"Nearly one-in-three children and teens in the United States are overweight or obese," said Clinton. "As the healthcare costs of obesity continue to soar, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's healthcare initiative has [brought] together health insurers, employers, and national medical associations to provide more than one million kids and teens in the U.S. with healthcare benefits for the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity, but we must all do more to develop innovative solutions to combat the obesity epidemic."