Scott, Jones Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Prevent and Combat Obesity

WASHINGTON – Today, Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Doug Jones (D-AL) introduced the Better Tools For Healthy Living Act, which will empower state and local governments with tools to spearhead efforts to prevent and combat obesity. Studies have estimated that more than 20 percent of medical spending in the United States is attributable to obesity, which is linked to a number of chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

“In order to truly improve our nation’s health care system, we must work to lower costs and strengthen preventive medicine,” Scott said. “Nearly 40 percent of American adults are obese, which shows just how important tackling this issue truly is.”

“Helping people develop healthier lifestyles and preventing obesity will help lower the cost of health care for everyone,” said Senator Jones. “By providing states with the most effective public health policy, we can make real strides in lowering the rate of obesity.”

Specifically, the Better Tools For Healthy Living Act instructs the Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to create a guide for effective strategies to help states and localities ramp up their efforts to prevent and combat obesity. The guide will emphasize initiatives with a track record of success in lowering health care costs and preventing harmful diseases. The legislation also instructs the CDC to provide technical assistance to state and local health departments, along with Indian tribes and tribal organizations, as they implement these strategies.

The Better Tools For Healthy Living Act is supported by the South Carolina Hospital Association and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. This legislation is expected to be part of a larger health care costs package currently being drafted by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.