US Turns "Blind Eye" to Obesity Epidemic, Say Former Surgeons General
Posted Oct 13 2009 10:04pm
America has "turned a blind eye or, worse yet, taken the wrong path" to combat the obesity epidemic for too long and the country is now approaching a tipping point, two former Surgeons General say in an op-ed appearing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "The burdens caused by the obesity epidemic are unsustainable," Drs. David Satcher and Richard S. Carmona write. "Unless we do something now, the cost burden of obesity — currently nearly $150 billion each year — will be an ever-tightening yoke around the neck of future generations of Americans."
Satcher and Carmona say political debates over health reform fail to recognize that "obesity is not a simple matter of personal lifestyle choice."
"People do not become overweight or obese all on their own," they write. "The reality is that their communities may not include safe places to exercise. Their incomes may not allow them to purchase healthy food. Their workplaces may not offer a wellness program. Genetics can also be a reason why some people become overweight or obese more easily than others and struggle unsuccessfully to lose pounds..."
"The data is in and the truth is that we cannot wait any longer," they say. "Helping Americans make healthier choices and enjoy a better quality of life can no longer be compromised by political bickering or continued inaction. Instead it must be a national priority."