Economics of Obesity: Implications for Productivity and Competitiveness

OCAN Blankets Capitol Hill – Meeting with over 150 Congressional Offices to support TROA and NOCW

On February 27, 2017, the obesity community joined together for the first Obesity Care Advocacy Network (OCAN) Advocacy Day of 2017 — with 120 attendees visiting more than 150 congressional offices. During their visits, OCAN members educated legislators and congressional staff about both the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) and a congressional resolution that would designate the week of October 29 – November 4, 2017 as National Obesity Care Week (NOCW).

Sandwiched in between morning and afternoon Hill visits, attendees paused to join legislative staff for a special congressional lunch briefing sponsored by OCAN and Novo Nordisk, inc. regarding the “Economics of Obesity and its Implications for Productivity and Competitiveness.” The briefing, which featured economists, patient advocates and the former Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee, highlighted how obesity and excess weight is an expanding health problem for more than 60 percent of Americans, and how a new study by Hugh Waters and Ross DeVol finds that it’s a tremendous drain on the U.S. economy as well. The authors of the study discussed how the total cost to treat health conditions related to obesity—ranging from diabetes to Alzheimer’s—plus obesity’s drag on attendance and productivity at work exceeds $1.4 trillion annually.

The day ended with a reception hosted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Political Action Committee (AND PAC), which featured Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) – one of the Senate sponsors of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act and the Senate National Obesity Care Week resolution. Over 50 OCAN members attended the AND PAC sponsored reception, including representatives from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, The Obesity Society, the Obesity Medicine Association and the Obesity Action Coalition.