Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Passage of the Health Care Bill Gives the U.S. an Opportunity to Combat Obesity

With the passage of the Health Care Reform Bill, the U.S. federal government is poised to be more involved in the fight against overweight and obesity. Even before the bill became law, the first lady, Michelle Obama, took on a leading role in the fight against childhood obesity. She's been a key player in the "Let's Move" campaign which is a movement to fight childhood obesity. Finally, the U.S. federal government has already indicated that it will increase funding to fight obesity.

Elements of the new law will attempt to influence eating habits. There is language in the law requiring some eating establishments to give calorie- content information. "The health care law requires chain restaurants that have more than 20 locations to display calorie information next to the food item on the standard menu. "

The federal law also requires the inclusion of additional information suggesting that a normal daily caloric intake is about 2000 calories. Indicating normal daily caloric intake is felt to be necessary, since researchers have found that when they know what the normal caloric intake is, people eat less.

In addition to what the federal government is doing, lower level governments have also joined the fight against overweight and obesity. The Virginia state government has completed legislation to change the name of the "Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation" to the "Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth." With the name change, the organization broadens its mission to fight childhood obesity, in addition to smoking.

In Ohio, the state government is working on legislation for "healthy choices for healthy children." The legislation will promote increased physical activity, physical education, and enhance the nutritional value of the food children eat in school.

As we said above, First Lady Michelle Obama is playing a leading role in fighting childhood obesity. And while the government can play an important role in childhood obesity, the fight against childhood obesity must begin in the home. Parents must guide their children in adopting healthy eating habits.

in fact, since obesity can be an impediment to future success, parents should be interested in joining the obesity fight. And weight loss centers (and health care professionals, in general) could work with parents to help them employ the best procedures for fighting childhood obesity. This kind of collaboration could help the community as a whole, and enhance a weight loss center’s local reputation.

Moreover, collaboration between weight loss centers and governments -- federal, state and local -- might be one of the best ways to beat overweight and obesity during childhood and adulthood.

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