#1 Cost Control for Healthcare? Controlling Obesity

"Obesity and with it diabetes are the only major health problems that are getting worse in this country, and they're getting worse rapidly," according to Dr. Thomas Frieden, speaking on Monday, July 27,2009 at the CDC's first major conference on the obesity crisis. "Two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese, and the average American today is 23 pounds overweight," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Overall obesity-related health spending has reached $147 billion, double what it was nearly a decade ago, says a study published Monday by the journal Health Affairs. The higher expense reflects the costs of treating diabetes, heart disease and other ailments far more common for the overweight, concluded the study by government scientists and the nonprofit research group RTI International. Health economist Eric Finkelstein offers a blunt message for lawmakers trying to revamp the health care system: "Unless you address obesity, you're never going to address rising health care costs."

The politics of food supersedes that of public vs. private funding of healthcare insurance.