A picture of Representative Marc A. Veasey
Marc V.
Democrat TX 33

About Rep. Marc
  • Cbc Hour: Eliminating Health Disparities

    by Representative Marc A. Veasey

    Posted on 2013-05-06

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    VEASEY. Thank you.

    I would also like to thank the gentleman from the Sagebrush State, Steven Horsford, and from the Empire State, Hakeem Jeffries, for all of their work on this very important issue and also in talking about the importance of the Affordable Care Act and everything that it's going to bring to our country. I also want to talk about the health care crisis that is ongoing in America today.

    Unfortunately, obesity and the long-term effects associated with this condition are all too prevalent in our country. When you look at the health statistics, it's quite astounding to say the least. Today in America, nearly two-thirds of adults and one in three children are overweight. In my own home State of Texas, we have one of the highest obesity rates in the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 percent or more of Texans are obese.

    The high obesity rate has contributed to the pervasiveness of diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic diseases that drain resources from our health care system. Increases in food intake, a lack of physical activity, and environments that make nutritious choices more difficult have all played a role in this obesity epidemic.

    Many children and adults do not have much control over the choices of foods they are able to get. Across this country, we are laden with food deserts or places where residents may not be able to get to a nutritious food option because they do not own a car or have access to public transportation, or maybe they don't live along walkable roads. This forces families to outsource their daily eating to more accessible and sometimes cheaper alternatives, such as fast food, to get their daily nutrients. A steady diet with high fat, salt- and sugar-based products has led to unhealthy lifestyles.

    Diabetes is one of the more commonly known effects of being overweight or obese.

    {time} 2030 The disease affects 25.8 million Americans, roughly 8 percent of our population. The effects and complications of diabetes can include stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, and amputations.

    Studies have shown that people with prediabetes who lose weight or increase their physical activity can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and in some cases even return their blood glucose levels to normal.

    Each of these statistics is more exacerbated when you look specifically at the minority population in our country such as Latinos and African Americans and our special-needs population.

    When you break down obesity by race, African Americans have the highest rates of obesity at roughly over 35 [[Page H2424]] percent; Latinos, a little over 28 percent as compared to the non- Hispanic White population of 23.7 percent. Individuals with disabilities also have higher rates of obesity at 31.2 percent. This is why I introduced House Resolution 195 designating May as Health and Fitness Month.

    We need to correct our course as a country and get on the path to healthier lifestyles. The numbers are clear. We cannot sustain this unhealthy path we are on. Not only is it cutting the lives of too many Americans short, but it's also costing our country. In 2008, medical costs associated with diabetes were estimated to be at $147 billion. The medical costs for people who were obese were over $1,400 higher than those of normal weight.

    We need to show our children that we can make healthy, nutritious choices and increase our physical activity. We must also not forget that this must be spread throughout all aspects of our population. While tremendous resources have been employed to help combat the growing obesity epidemic amongst children, markedly fewer have been used to address specific issues regarding how to best help obese children with disabilities.

    So, today, let's declare a more nutritious and healthy lifestyle with better food choices and more active lives.

    Mr. Horsford, thank you very much.

    Mr. HORSFORD. I thank the gentleman from Texas.

    I know we are wrapping up on our hour, Mr. Speaker.

    I'd like to recognize the co-anchor for this hour, my good friend and colleague from New York (Mr. Jeffries), who will provide a bit of a synopsis.

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