Less obesity, lower costs?
Today in her blog, "Food Politics," Marion Nestle summarizes some recent estimates from the Campaign to End Obesityof the cost of obesity in the United States. Nestle sounds reluctant to take the estimates at face value, but admits, "One thing is clear: obesity is expensive, personally, economically, and politically."
Extension programs of many types aim to reduce the incidence of and costs associated with obesity. Not only nutrition education programs, but some agriculture programs (farmers markets, local foods), youth programs, and even community leadership programs seek to improve health and impact the obesity problem. And to be effective with non-participant stakeholders--to demonstrate public value--these programs would like to report the dollar value of savings they have helped generate for state and local governments and for communities. Can estimates such those released by the Campaign to End Obesity help Extension programs make their case?
Do you work with programs that address obesity and its impact on communities? Have you found estimates of the cost of obesity that can be used to support your program's public value? Do you focus on public health costs--which affect all community members--or have you found a way to incorporate even the impact on private health care costs into a public value message?