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Lowering obesity


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Preventing obesity and overweight conditions presents a significant opportunity to reduce costs. The Centers for Disease Control reported that approximately 9% of healthcare costs in 1998 were attributable to overweight and obesity, or as much as $93 billion in 2002 dollars. Nearly half of these costs were paid for by the government via Medicare or Medicaid. However, by 2008 the CDC estimated these costs had nearly doubled to $147 billion. The CDC identified a series of expensive conditions more likely to occur due to obesity. The CDC released a series of strategies to prevent obesity and overweight, including: making healthy foods and beverages more available; supporting healthy food choices; encouraging kids to be more active; and creating safe communities to support physical activity. An estimated 26% of U.S. adults in 2007 were obese, versus 24% in 2005. State obesity rates ranged from 18% to 30%. Obesity rates were roughly equal among men and women. Some have proposed a so-called "fat tax" to provide incentives for healthier behavior, either by levying the tax on products (such as soft drinks) that are thought to contribute to obesity, or to individuals based on body measures, as is done in Japan.

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