Policy Makers Gather from 20 States and Puerto Rico to Discuss Ways to Overcome and Prevent Weight-Related Health Issues
April 9, 2010 – The Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance partnered with the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators’ (NHCSL) in its summit on Hispanic obesity which took place today in Washington, D.C.
“Hispanic obesity and related chronic diseases are at crisis proportions,” said Christine Ferguson, JD, director of the Alliance. “We must work together at the state level to address the ballooning health care costs driven by obesity-related illnesses.”
Increased obesity rates are leading to a subsequent increase in weight-related disease including diabetes, cancer and heart disease. These illnesses have reached alarming prevalence among Hispanics, adding to families’ economic and social distress. According to the CDC, nearly 30% of Hispanics are obese. (1)
“Obesity expenditures are endangering the nation’s economic and social progress. In at least 11 states, Hispanic obesity is more than 30 percent higher than the national average, literally crippling families,” said NHCSL President, Senator Iris Y. Martinez (IL).
The Alliance hosted a policy solutions workshop during the summit, which focused on the existing barriers to policy reform and ways in which states are overcoming these barriers. The workshop included Marina Kurian, MD, from the New York University School of Medicine, who discussed the role the medical community plays in addressing Hispanic obesity, including discussions of various interventions currently being used with her Hispanic patients. Jennifer Leonard, JD, MPH, from the STOP Obesity Alliance and the Department of Health Policy at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services provided a framework, including the Alliance’s Obesity GPS (Guide for Program and Policy Solutions), for legislators to utilize in analyzing policy options.
(1) Pan L, Galuska DA, Sherry B, Hunter AS, Rutledge GE, Dietz WH, Balluz LS. 2009. Differences in prevalence of obesity among black, white and Hispanic adults—United States, 2006-2008. MMWR Weekly, 58(27), 740-744.
About the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators
The NHCSL is the premier national association of Hispanic state legislators working to design and implement policies and procedures that will improve the quality of life for Hispanics throughout the country. The organization represents the interests of more than 300 Hispanic state legislators from all states, commonwealths and territories of the United States. NHCSL was founded in 1989 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3). For more information visit www.nhcsl.org.
About the STOP Obesity Alliance
The Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance is a collaboration of consumer, provider, government, labor, business, health insurers and quality-of-care organizations united to drive innovative and practical strategies that combat obesity. The STOP Obesity Alliance is directed by Research Professor Christine C. Ferguson, J.D., of The George Washington University’s Department of Health Policy and former Health Commissioner for the State of Massachusetts. Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, 17th U.S. Surgeon General and President of the non-profit Canyon Ranch Institute, serves as Health and Wellness Chairperson of the Alliance. The Alliance Steering Committee is comprised of the following public and private sector organizations: American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, American Medical Group Association, Canyon Ranch Institute, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity (DNPAO), DMAA: The Care Continuum Alliance, National Business Group on Health, National Quality Forum, Partnership for Prevention, Reality Coalition, Service Employees International Union, The Obesity Society and Trust for America’s Health. The Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance receives funding from founding sponsor, sanofi-aventis U.S. LLC, and supporting sponsors, Allergan, Inc. and Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc.