On Eve of White House Conference, Health Equity Leaders Urge Additional Actions from Biden Administration to Adequately Address Obesity Epidemic
Washington, DC — Today, the Health Equity Coalition for Chronic Disease (HECCD) responded to Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, which set forth important strategies for addressing the obesity crisis that now impacts over 100 million Americans. New data from CDC found 17 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have adult obesity rates over 35 percent. Just ten years ago, no state had an adult obesity rate above 35 percent. The Administration’s strategy includes important measures such as steps toward providing all people with needed nutrition and expanding behavioral counseling. However, the strategy ignores the important role of medical interventions in the treatment of obesity.
HECCD released the following statement:
“We are pleased to see the White House strategy expand Medicaid and Medicare access to nutrition and obesity counseling, and to food as medicine. We are, however, disappointed that the strategy ends there — and doesn’t take into account important medical interventions such as pharmacotherapy. Obesity is a complex chronic disease. The millions of Black and Hispanic Americans who are disproportionately impacted by it — many of whom rely on Medicare and Medicaid — deserve access to the full continuum of care. This is why health equity leaders across the spectrum have weighed in on the issue, most recently during a listening session hosted by the Health Equity Coalition for Chronic Disease. Coming out of this listening session, we developed a series of recommendations and sent them to the White House in advance of this pivotal conference. We hope to continue to work with this Administration to implement all of our recommendations. We will continue working with health equity leaders to advocate on behalf of the millions of Americans living with obesity to ensure they have access to treatment they deserve.”
Health Equity Coalition for Chronic Disease (HECCD) is a nationwide coalition focused on eliminating barriers to healthcare for communities of color disproportionately impacted by chronic diseases like obesity. The Coalition is led by Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI), the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) and the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA). HECCD believes that all people deserve the best possible health care. Continuing to allow outdated coverage policies to restrict access for communities dependent on public programs is counter to the principles of health equity. The Health Equity Coalition for Chronic Disease’s mission is to ensure that community experts, policymakers, providers, and other stakeholders work together to eliminate barriers to healthcare for communities of color, especially barriers to care and treatment for obesity and other chronic diseases. Learn more about Health Equity Coalition for Chronic Disease at HealthEquityAction.org