Emerging

Obesity expands amid federal anti-obesity campaign

 

Posted By Neil Munro On 4:40 PM 11/01/2013

The national obesity rate has expanded since 2012, even as federal regulators and first lady Michelle Obama exhort the nation to slim down, eat less and exercise.

The adult obesity rate climbed from 26.1 percent in January 2011, up to 27.2 percent in late 2012, according to Gallup’s survey, released on Friday – a 4.2 percent rise in 24 months.

The jump is a surprise, partly because the obesity rate had drifted down from 26.5 percent in January 2009, to 26.1 percent in January 2011, during the recession.

For more than a decade, federal health agencies have tried to reverse the growing obesity rate. In 2000, for example, the agencies announced their goal of reducing obesity to 15 percent by 2010.

The federal takeover of the nation’s health sector via the Obamacare law is also being used by experts to tighten the nation’s girth. Health companies must include anti-fatness measures in the benefit plans they offer to the nation. The value of the mandates is unclear, but they will likely fatten revenues of professionals in the anti-fat business.

Gallup’s survey showed that the obesity rate is lower among populations that are wealthy, white, older and live on the West coast. Rates are higher among populations that are middle-aged, black, latino, poorer and who live in the south.

“The U.S. obesity rate thus far in 2013 is trending upward and will likely surpass all annual obesity levels since 2008,” the Gallup report said.

Gallup also suggested that employers regulate their employees’ weight.

“Employers can also take an active role to help lower obesity rates… The annual cost for lost productivity due to workers being above normal weight or having a history of chronic conditions ranges from $160 million among agricultural workers to $24.2 billion among professionals,” Gallup claimed.

MIchelle Obama has also tried to draft companies in her waistline-reducing agenda.

Kids’ waistlines matter because the costs of treating adults’ obesity “matter for every business in America,” she wrote in February 2013.

“We spend $190 billion a year treating obesity-related health conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and a significant portion of those costs are borne by America’s businesses,” she wrote.

“We need every business in America to dig deeper, get more creative, and find new ways to generate revenue by giving American families better information and healthier choices. We know this can be done in a way that’s good for our kids and good for businesses,” she wrote.

In August, the first lady tried to claim that her “Let’s Move” campaign deserved credit for a drop in the number of obese children.

“Obesity among low-income preschoolers declined, from 2008 through 2011, in 19 of 43 states and territories studied, said a study released in August by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Today’s announcement reaffirms my belief that together, we are making a real difference in helping kids across the country get a healthier start to life,” said an August statement from the first lady.

The results were “evidence of progress,” according to her website, LetsMove.gov.

“Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams,” according to the site.

The government-centered program does allow a role for parents.

“Everyone has a role to play in reducing childhood obesity, including parents, elected officials from all levels of government, schools, health care professionals, faith-based and community-based organizations, and private sector companies,” the site declares.

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