Monday, July 27, 2009

What is the Weight of the Nation?

What is the Weight of the Nation?

With the average American carrying 23 extra pounds, collectively that is 4.6 billion extra pounds, according to Thomas Frieden, the CDC's director who has been on the job for about six weeks.

Frieden has been at the helm of the Weight of the Nation conference, which has drawn about 1,000 leaders in the health and wellness community to talk about the issue of obesity.

Monday's Keynote speaker was former President Bill Clinton. The CDC honored Clinton with a Pioneering Innovation Award for his work with Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Clinton said, for him, childhood obesity is an obsession.

"This is a social issue, we are trying to turn the Titanic before it hits the iceberg. It is very much worth the effort," Clinton said.

When it comes to policy arguments, Clinton said most people get caught up in the how are you going to do something and much is this going to cost questions. The most important question, he said, is, "How do you propose to turn good intentions into positive changes?"

The CDC also honored Sen. Tom Harkin, who has been instrumental in initiatives such as the FDA's fresh fruits and vegetables program. Harkin talked about the importance for us to recreate society as a genuine wellness community.

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