The Texas Public Health Coalition says: State policymakers continue to underscore the monumental obesity crisis in Texas. Obesity-related health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and stroke put great stress on the state’s fiscal health. Two-thirds of Texas adults1 and 29 percent of Texas high school students2 are either overweight or obese. This is devastating. And it gets even worse. By 2040, an estimated 75 percent of all Texans will be overweight, which could cost Texas more than $39 billion for health care and productivity costs each year by 2040.3 Texas must address this looming public health crisis today.
Obesity in Texas: Things You Need to Know
- Per-capita health care spending for obese adults is about 40 percent higher than spending for normal-weight adults.4
- Lawmakers created a Medicaid pilot to study activities that could help prevent obesity and reduce costs. The pilot will conclude in 2012, and a final report will be submitted to the Texas Legislature.
- Physical activity and good nutrition improve a child’s academic performance. Texas’ School Health Advisory Councils can play a key role by making children’s health a priority.
- Thirty-two percent of kids ages 10-17 years are overweight or obese.5 An obese adolescent has a 70-percent greater chance of being an obese adult than a normal-weight adolescent.6 To stem obesity, we must help adolescents create healthy behaviors.
- Schools and childcare centers can help. They play an important role in educating parents, children, and adolescents on health and how to make healthy choices.
Good health is influenced by social, economic, and physical factors in a community. Policies that support planning and an infrastructure with access to physical activity and healthy foods strengthen a community’s health.
- Texas policymakers created interagency workgroups to study law to ensure healthy foods are available to all Texans. Groups such as the Farm-to-School Task Force and Healthy Food Advisory Committee have identified practical steps to improve Texans’ access to nutritious foods.
2011 Public Health Coalition Healthy Eating and Activity Priorities
- Support evidence-based strategies to reduce obesity and its related costs from chronic disease, including interventions to decrease consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, salt, and saturated fat.
- Improve the health of schoolchildren by increasing physical activity, health education, and yearly reporting of coordinated school health efforts through School Health Advisory Councils.
- Improve nutrition and physical activity in early childhood programs, for example, by educating parents and the public about the benefits of breast feeding.
- Enhance community environments to promote physical activity.
- Improve access to healthy foods.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2009.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Risk Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2009.
3. Texas Department of State Health Services. The Burden of Overweight and Obesity in Texas, 2000-2040. Austin, Texas, 2004.
4. Congressional Budget Office. How Does Obesity in Adults Affect Spending on Health Care? Sept. 8, 2010.
5. Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. 2007. National Survey of Children’s Health. Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health website. Retrieved Nov. 11, 2010, from nschdata.org.
6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General. January 2010. The Surgeon General’s Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation 2010. Rockville, Md.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General. January 2010.