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AMA to the Seattle Times: Taking preventable steps

July 10, 2011(published)

The Seattle Times
Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

The American Medical Association (AMA) has long recognized obesity as a major public-health concern, and taking steps to reduce the rate of obesity in the U.S. not only benefits the health of Americans — it benefits their wallets, too.

Rates of obesity have exploded over the last two decades, and more than one-quarter of the nation’s health-care spending growth is attributable to this expansion in obesity and the treatment of its related conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease. The treatment for obesity and its health consequences accounts for a whopping $147 billion of our country’s annual health-care spending.

We must take steps to help prevent and better treat obesity. Making even minor lifestyle changes can lead to big health benefits, and your doctor can help you get started.

The AMA Healthier Life Steps tool kit is a free resource, available on the AMA website, that can help patients and physicians work together to adopt healthier behaviors that can improve overall health and slim down obesity and its health consequences.

Robert M. Wah, MD
Chairman, American Medical Association