Video: Obesity epidemic stems from environment, panel says
Transcript of: Obesity epidemic stems from environment, panel says
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Back now with our reporting on what's being called the weight of the nation. Last night we told you about a stunning prediction that by the year 2030 , health experts are telling us 42 percent of Americans will be obese. Today at a conference in Washington , some sweeping strategies for fighting this epidemic. We get more from our chief science correspondent Robert Bazell .
Dr. ROBIN GOLAND (Columbia University Medical Center): How have you been feeling?
Unidentified Patient: Good.
ROBERT BAZELL reporting: Dr. Robin Goland is on the front lines of the obesity epidemic and sees its consequences every day.
Dr. GOLAND: Our pediatricians are seeing obese two-year-olds and four-year-olds. We have five-year-olds with impaired glucose tolerance. We have eight-year-olds with type 2 diabetes. This is a catastrophe.
Unidentified Man: Most of you are familiar with the shocking statistics.
BAZELL: Today's recommendations from the prestigious Institute of Medicine , signal a sea change in how we perceive obesity. No longer a question of individual responsibility, but a need to change what's called an obesity promoting environment, calling on corporations, government and individuals to act. Among the panel's recommendations, requiring at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity in schools, public and workplace policies that encourage people of all ages to exercise more, industrywide guidelines on marketing food to children, including healthier choices for kids in restaurants,, and having healthy food available at all public events. With the cost of treating obesity-related illnesses approaching $200 billion a year, many on the panel say the nation is ready to act.
Dr. MRC GREENWOOD (Obesity Panel Vice Chair): It takes a lot of leadership. We need our mayors to step up to the plate. We need our school superintendents to step up to the plate.
BAZELL: With two-thirds of Americans overweight and one-third obese, the problem has become so critical it's affecting almost every aspect of our daily lives. There are even worries that airplane seat belts can't protect the many heavy passengers.
Dr. JANEY PRATT (Massachusetts General Hospital): We skip meals, we eat too quickly, we eat foods that are high in sugars and carbohydrates and fats. And we eat more of them.
BAZELL: Bad habits, the panel said, and an environment that encourages them. Robert Bazell , NBC News, New York.
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