Government: Healthy living can hold down health insurance costs

Government officials are increasingly emphasizing the importance of healthy living and preventive medicine as ways to help hold down the cost of health insurance and general care.

Government officials are increasingly emphasizing the importance of healthy living and preventive medicine as ways to help hold down the cost of health insurance and general care.

This week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius addressed the "Weight of the Nation" conference in an effort to boost awareness of these issues.

If there was an epidemic of little kids getting cancer, it would be a national crisis. But because it's obesity and the damage doesn 't come until later in life, we've been slow to act. I 'm counting on people in this room to tell Americans that as our children's weight is growing, their lives are shrinking. We can't ignore this problem any longer," Sebelius told her audience.

The HHS secretary also cited recent statistics showing that about two-thirds of adults and one-fifth of U.S. children are overweight, adding that obesity treatment currently costs the healthcare system twice as much as cancer treatment does.

In another sign of the state of the country's health, Sebelius noted that doctors no longer refer to type 2 diabetes as "adult onset diabetes" because so many children have been getting it. For those who do adopt healthier lifestyles for themselves and their families, lower health insurance costs will be just one small benefit.

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Posted: July 30, 2009

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