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Congressman Kind proposes obesity legislation

A Wisconsin congressman is proposing legislation to combat what he calls America's costliest disease, obesity. Healthy, affordable food in rural and low-income areas is one component of a bill by congressional Democrat Ron Kind of La Crosse. One ...

A Wisconsin congressman is proposing legislation to combat what he calls America's costliest disease, obesity.

Healthy, affordable food in rural and low-income areas is one component of a bill by congressional Democrat Ron Kind of La Crosse.

One way Kind hopes to get good food to these areas is by working with the grocery industry to locate stores in needed areas. Another part of the bill seeks to improve nutritional guidelines in federal meal programs like school lunch and food assistance.

Others provisions encourage more physical activity in gym class. In announcing the bill during a simulcast to five Wisconsin locations, Kind said government involvement will be limited.

He says a "Washington-knows-best approach will not work, because what's crucial is a buy-in from all levels of our society."

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That includes schools, parents, private industry and doctors.

The bill urges screening of adults and children for obesity using BMI or body mass index. UW Hospital and Clinics pediatrician David Allen says Congressman Kind recognizes the physical harm--and expense - of obesity related disease. He says health problems like cancer and high blood pressure are common, and that begins with childhood obesity.

A group that hopes to work with Congress, the Campaign to End Obesity, estimates that government and business spent $147 billion annually on medical costs related to obesity.

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