Partnership for a Healthier America Announcement
Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama announced that I, along with Newark Mayor Cory Booker will serve as Vice Chairs for her obesity initiative - Partnership for a Healthier America. The Partnership will mobilize the private sector, thought leaders, media, and local communities to action and further the goals of the First Lady's Let's Move! campaign, the goal of which is to eliminate childhood obesity within a generation.
Obesity is a relatively recent problem in our country - it's an issue that was not an issue in my early childhood years, so it is generational in the way it's been created, to where it is a true epidemic today. But it is a solvable problem.
As a heart surgeon, I've dedicated much of my professional life to dealing with heart disease, which has a direct causal relationship to obesity. Data suggests that health care costs of obese adults exceed the health care costs by other healthier people by 91 percent -- almost a doubling in health care costs. The United States will spend over $340 billion on health care costs attributable to obesity just 10 years from now. That's a cost of about $1,425 per person -- four times what it is today. Today it's about $361. Just by holding the current rate of obesity steady, we can save $55 billion in projected health care costs.
I fought against childhood obesity during my days in the Senate (without much success!), championing such legislation as the Childhood Obesity Reduction Act, but this problem will not be solved by government. A solution requires partnerships with businesses and families and parents and children and philanthropists and organizations and foundations all working together.
This is where you come in. I encourage you to visit my website www.billfrist.com/obesity and submit your ideas and share your thoughts on how we can fight obesity together. I also encourage you to come back and visit the site often, as we will share some of the best ideas on this page and my blog, hopefully creating a dialogue that will produce meaningful and long-lasting solutions. Working together, we can and will fight this growing problem and eliminate it within a generation.
Bill Frist, M.D.