Much has been written about the American Medical Association’s decision to categorize obesity as a disease. In a recent Huffington Post column, Larry Cohen, MSW, director of the Bay Area-based Prevention Institute offers suggestions for what to do now and encourages readers to “recognize that there are social influences that affect what we eat, how we live and how healthy we end up — long before we enter the doctor’s office.” He elaborates:
For too long, there’s been an artificial barrier between healthcare and policies that impact people’s health. If Californians want to improve health and drive down medical spending, we need policies that incentivize the growing and marketing of healthy foods. We need transportation policy that encourages people to get out of their cars and walk. And we need regulations that limit junk-food advertising to children, discourage smoking and reduce outdoor pollution and the respiratory diseases it causes. Policy wonks like me even have a term for this approach — “health in all policies” — and it makes a lot of sense.
Previously: More evidence that boosting Americans’ physical activity alone won’t solve the obesity epidemic, Stanford forum on how food policies affect our nation’s obesity rates posted online, Four states examine their cultural environment to reduce obesity rates, Children and obesity: What can parents do to help? and Expert to new members of Congress: Don’t mess with health law’s prevention funds