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February 4, 2009

Obesity and the Economy: From Crisis to Opportunity

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Medicine, Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Ludwig); and Center for Health Administration Studies, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (Dr Pollack).

JAMA. 2009;301(5):533-535. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.52

The onset of a major recession places the economic correlates of obesity into sharp relief. Even in good economic times, obesity imposes great financial burden on society in the form of higher medical costs and lower worker productivity. The economic downturn can be expected to reduce nutrition quality and physical activity, worsening obesity prevalence when society is least able to bear the escalating financial burden. Yet this crisis also offers unprecedented opportunity. The economic stimulus under consideration in Washington could help launch a comprehensive national obesity initiative with immediate public health benefits, while laying the foundations for economic well-being into the 21st century.

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