The Human and Economic Cost of Obesity
|September 26, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Health, Policy, Research||
The human and economic cost of the nation’s ever-increasing obesity rate is the focus of a brief from the RAND Corporation cautioning against inaction in the face of potentially severe public health outcomes as well as the looming expense of future care for this segment of the population.
The brief, entitled Preventing Obesity and Its Consequences: Highlighting Years of RAND Health Research, summarizes research that links obesity to diabetes and heart disease, as well as evidence that obesity can exacerbate conditions such as arthritis or hypertension. In addition, studies have shown that obese women experience greater complications to fertility and pregnancy, and may even not survive some cancers at the same rate as their non-obese counterparts.
With the costs clearly identified, RAND has turned their attention to identifying and evaluating public policy responses to this potential health crisis. Measures such as accessibility to supermarkets (as opposed to fast food chains and conveniences stores), healthier school meals, promoting urban areas for recreation and physical exercise and taxes on non-nutritional items such as soda and junk food are discussed in this paper, as well as current studies being conducted by RAND on this important issue.
Can public policy drive better food and fitness choices? Have you successfully addressed nutrition and wellness issues of clients (or staff) at your nonprofit?