U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) today joined a bipartisan group of members including Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), and Marcia Fudge (D-OH), as well as the Campaign to End Obesity and the Grocery Manufacturers Association in announcing a comprehensive framework for combating obesity.
"Healthy adults are more productive in the workforce and healthy kids do better in school," said Congressman Kind. "That's why making the healthy choice the easy choice for families today is so essential. Easier access to the tools and education to prevent and treat obesity; affordable, nutritious food to promote a balanced diet; and an increased emphasis on physical activity to maintain our overall health are critical to our quality of life and the economic success of our country. I am pleased to work on legislation that helps us do this and excited that the Administration is focusing on this important issue this year."
The legislative framework, authored by Rep. Kind, seeks to comprehensively address the obesity epidemic, currently affecting the lives of over 60 percent of adults and over 9 million children nationwide. The bill will include provisions to increase access to the tools and education to make healthy choices, update nutrition guidelines and provide more nutritious food in schools, increase access to nutritional information and healthy, affordable foods in rural and low-income urban areas, improve access to and opportunity for physical activity for adults and children, and provide more opportunities to participate in outdoor physical activities, including as a means of transportation.
"Smart eating and exercise is the most important thing we can teach our kids," said Congressman Blumenauer. "Instilling good eating habits makes it easier for children to focus in school and prevents serious health problems down the road, from heart disease to diabetes. Every child deserves to enjoy running and playing, and by helping them make smart food choices and exercise a part of their daily routines, we can create a healthier and happier generation of kids."
"Obesity is a nationwide epidemic, costing our health care system billions in related costs and threatening quality of life for far too many Americans," said Congresswoman Bono Mack. "I am proud to combine efforts with Congressman Kind to make healthier living an easier choice for children and adults across the country. Through enhancing education, encouraging healthy food choices, and promoting physical activity, we can help Americans of all ages be more productive in school and in the work place and live healthier, happier lives."
"People want to be healthy and avoid preventable illnesses," said Congresswoman Fudge. "This framework supports these goals by comprehensively addressing widespread obesity and unhealthiness. Expanding opportunities for family and community wellness by creating more sidewalks, funding bike paths, and creating community gardens and farmers' markets are examples of ways in which Congress can increase wellness and decrease obesity."
"The Campaign to End Obesity - the nation's largest advocacy coalition on obesity policy, which brings together industry, public health, patient, provider and academia to promote federal anti-obesity policies, is excited to see the emergence of valued leadership in the legislative charge to reverse the nation's obesity epidemic," said Lee Kaplan, MD, Harvard University School of Medicine and Chairman of the Board, the Campaign to End Obesity. "This effort reflects thoughtful and effective policies that can help Americans reach and sustain a healthy weight, and we are eager to partner with Congress to advance this much-needed measure -- one that tackles America's costliest medical condition head-on."
"Obesity is one the nation's most pressing public health challenges," said Pamela Bailey, President and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. "Food and beverage companies are already changing the way we manufacture and market our products, but the number of obese and overweight Americans will not fall without strong leadership from the White House and from Congress. We look forward to working with Congressman Kind and his colleagues in Congress to craft sensible, science-based legislation that will help promote healthy eating habitats and provide new opportunities for physical activity. We applaud Rep. Kind for his leadership on this critical issue."