Other views …

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Prevention is widely acknowledged to be a key part of reducing the nation’s astronomical health care costs.

Decreasing demand for medical treatment through lifestyle choices is included in any serious discussion of managing health care spending.

But as a debate over health care rages across the country, a new report on obesity shows America is moving in the wrong direction on one of the most basic reasons for health problems — excessive weight.

The study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health found that “two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, and nearly one-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese.”

And alarmingly, the report said, the nation’s economic woes mean many families will be less able to afford healthy foods. …

Today, 49 states have obesity rates topping 20 percent, compared to none in 1991, the researchers noted.

No state showed improvement last year.

In large part, weight is a problem caused by individual lifestyle decisions, although Americans on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder have less ability to improve their diets.

Policymakers have no choice but to take actions that address the problem. …

But the bottom line is that Americans have to take responsibility for controlling their own weight. The medical costs of continuing in the current direction are untenable.

— The Express-News,

San Antonio