In 2011, ACE articulated a vision: By the year 2035, the obesity epidemic will be over. We’ve taken this stance because we are actively leading our industry into greater involvement and accountability in the response to this significant public health threat. We are readying health and fitness professionals to participate, and we are working to evolve the systems and environments that shape the national response so that our profession may contribute. To help our efforts, ACE is collaborating with the Campaign to End Obesity Action Fund, which supports and encourages the adoption and enactment of U.S. policies, procedures and laws that are designed to reduce the prevalence of obesity in the United States. Check out this interview to learn more about who they are and what they do.
Why was the Campaign to End Obesity created? What is your mission?
The Campaign to End Obesity (CEO) was created to act as the go-to resource for Members of Congress and their staff on policy solutions to address the U.S. obesity epidemic.
Accordingly, the mission of the CEO is to advocate for federal policies to combat the obesity epidemic. Despite the overwhelming number of Americans who are overweight or suffer from obesity and the economic and medical repercussions of this crisis on our society, opportunities to address this issue through policy change have largely gone unmet.
The CEO works to unite leaders of industry, academia and public health with political decision-makers to ensure that the necessary measures are taken to eradicate obesity and rid the United States of one of its most expensive and dangerous diseases.
What challenges do you, as an organization, face in advocating for needed policy change to address obesity?
There are two main challenges that we face.
First, there continues to be broad misunderstanding about the causes of obesity. Many people around the country—including Members of Congress—oversimplify the causes of obesity in America. All too often, individuals attribute the obesity epidemic in the country to personal accountability. This approach is far too simplistic. There are no silver-bullet solutions to America’s obesity epidemic. We know that there are a number of causes of obesity, which include economic, cultural, genetic, educational, environmental and psychological factors. Accordingly, we need a comprehensive approach when addressing obesity.
The second challenge that we face in advocating for needed policy changes is the economy and attitudes in Congress toward making investments into preventing and treating individuals suffering from obesity or obesity-related conditions. Currently, we spend $200 billion each year on obesity-related medical costs. We cannot sustain these costs and, absent targeted action, this spending will bankrupt our healthcare system.
In turn, we must make investments in the treatment and prevention of obesity. By treating and preventing obesity in America, we have the ability to save hundreds of billions of dollars in unnecessary medical costs, but we must make the upfront investment to do so. Unfortunately, the current economy—as well as the scale of the obesity epidemic in the country—makes that expenditure difficult. That’s why the CEO is working hard to ensure that lawmakers have the resources and information to determine which investments might be best by facilitating additional long-term analyses of proposals that have significant long-term benefits.
How can people get involved?
Visit www.obesitycampaign.org and sign up to join others in the fight against this costly disease. Learn the facts of obesity, including its causes, implications and solutions, and sign up to join in this important effort. Follow relevant obesity issues in the news and through Congress via our Weekly Obesity News Summary, and check our email alerts for information on important policies as well as tools that you can use to promote a healthier America.
You can also support the CEO. Our work is only made possible through the generosity of our donors through their tax-deductible contributions, and we appreciate all the help we can get as we fight the obesity epidemic to facilitate healthier lifestyles for Americans in all walks of life.