US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Harkin: ‘F as in Fat’ Report Could Also Stand for ‘F is for Fight’ Obesity at Every Level

Tuesday, June 29, 2010Kate Cyrul / Bergen Kenny (202) 224-3254

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement today on the Trust for America’s Health new report “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future.”  The report shows that, among other things, adult obesity rates increased in 28 states in the past year, and declined only in the District of Columbia.  It also found that more than two-thirds of states (38) have adult obesity rates above 25 percent.  In 1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent.  Harkin contributed a commentary in the report titled “The Childhood Obesity Epidemic: Time to Fight Back,” which can be found on page 63.  A full copy of the report can be found here.   

“It is all too clear that rising rates of obesity are putting a strain on our nation’s health care system and on our wallets,” said Harkin.  “As it stands, we are poised to raise the most unhealthy generation in modern history, and the situation is only getting worse.

“Fortunately the new health reform law, and specifically the Prevention and Public Health title of the law, takes significant steps to improve the health and well-being of Americans and moves our nation towards a true wellness society.  And it does this at every level -- by realigning resources within the Federal government, ensuring providers have incentives to practice preventive services and that communities around the country are engaged in health promotion.  Efforts such as these are critical in our fight against obesity and other causes of poor health.  But more must be done, including passing a strong child nutrition reauthorization and a transportation reauthorization that promotes physical activity.

“In the title of this report, F stands for ‘fat’, but as the content of the report shows, F should also stand for ‘fight’ -- a fight we must take on head first for the future of our nation.”

Harkin, who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, crafted the Prevention and Public Health title of the recently passed health reform law, The Affordable Care Act.   He has been a leader in efforts to invest in prevention and wellness for over a decade and on efforts to fight childhood obesity.  Information on these efforts can be found here.

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