The 2018 State of Obesity report includes 40 recommendations for federal, state and local policymakers; the restaurant and food industries; and the healthcare system, including:
- Support and expand policies and programs aimed at addressing obesity at the federal, state and community levels, including programs in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, community health programs like the Racial and Ethnic Approaches for Community Health program (REACH), and programs that focus on school health in CDC’s Division of Population Health.
- Maintain and strengthen essential nutrition supports for low-income children, families and individuals through programs—like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—and expand programs and pilots to make healthy foods more available and affordable through the program.
- Maintain nutrition standards for school meals that were in effect prior to USDA’s interim final rule from November 2017, as well as current nutrition standards for school snacks.
- States should ensure that all students receive at least 60 minutes of physical education or activity during each school day.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, should ensure that the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans reflect the latest and best nutrition science, include recommendations for children ages two and under, are developed in a transparent manner, and are issued on time.
- Actively support the recommendations of “Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities.”
- Medicare should encourage eligible beneficiaries to enroll in obesity counseling as a covered benefit, and, evaluate its use and effectiveness.
- Health plans, medical schools, continuing medical education, and public health departments should raise awareness about the need and availability of these services.
- Food and beverage companies should eliminate children’s exposure to advertising and marketing of unhealthy products.
- Hospitals should no longer sell or serve sugary drinks on their campuses; they should also improve the nutritional quality of meals and promote breastfeeding.
The time to invest in these policies and programs is now. If current trends continue, approximately half of today’s children will have obesity by the time they are 35, risking their health and driving up healthcare spending.