Letter to the editor: Support bill to fight obesity

Posted 11/19/21

As COVID-19 has become America's new reality and the complexities and issues of the American health care system are on the forefront of citizens' minds, leaders are …

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Letter to the editor: Support bill to fight obesity

Posted

As COVID-19 has become America's new reality and the complexities and issues of the American health care system are on the forefront of citizens' minds, leaders are finding themselves at a crossroads on healthcare policy.

As elected officials begin to confront our nation's growing health disparities, obesity must be at the center of the conversation. The complex disease is exacerbating devastating health inequities, making communities of color sicker and causing them to, on average, live shorter lives.

For too long, people have held an outdated — and dangerous — view of obesity as the result of individual choices. In reality, obesity is the result of genetic, biological and environmental factors.

From genetic makeup to healthcare discrimination, people of color are at high risk for obesity. Nearly half (49.6%) of Black Americans and 44.8% of Latinx Americans are living with obesity, compared to 42.2% of white Americans.

As a result, communities of color are at a greater risk for other serious diseases like diabetes which increases the likelihood for life-threatening conditions like heart disease and stroke.

Addressing systemic inequality in our healthcare system means that laws and regulations must change to treat obesity as the disease that it is. The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA), a bipartisan bill moving through Congress, would do exactly that: if passed, it will allow for evidence-backed, proven obesity treatments and medications to be covered under Medicare.

Please tell our federal delegation to support the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act and to address the growing epidemic of obesity.

Jeeva Senthilnathan

Parker

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