Today, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to increase funding for obesity prevention activities carried out by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Helping Obesity Prevention Efforts (HOPE) Act requires that $20 million of unobligated funds to the Department of State's budget be appropriated to the Department of Health and Human Services to be used by the CDC for funding obesity prevention programs.
"The rate of obesity in America has more than tripled in the past 50 years -- with an astonishing 34% of all Americans now considered to be obese," said Rep. Baca. "We must place a greater focus on preventive strategies to help stop the public health epidemic that obesity has become. I am proud to sponsor the HOPE Act, which increases funding for critically important obesity prevention programs operated by the CDC."
The HOPE Act adds $20 million to the CDC's budget for obesity prevention, which will provide additional funding for obesity prevention efforts at the school, community, and state level. In addition, funding will be utilized to strengthen obesity prevention efforts for many underserved communities, including Tribal communities, which traditionally have higher rates of obesity and chronic disease.
Rep. Baca served as Chair of the House Agriculture Subcommittee with jurisdiction on nutrition issues from 2007 -- 2010. In that capacity, he led efforts to increase access to nutritious foods through federal feeding programs like SNAP (the food stamp program), the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program, and the Commodity Supplemental Foods Program. This Congress, Rep. Baca has already introduced legislation to increase the amount of physical education and nutrition education in America's schools (H.R. 422 and H.R. 576).
"With obesity related medical expenses now topping $190 billion a year, we must act boldly to protect the health and financial security of our nation," concluded Rep. Baca. "This legislation is an important first step in recognizing the seriousness of the obesity epidemic, and prioritizing the need for preventive solutions that makes America a happier, healthier nation."