January 21, 2004
COST OF OBESITY CAN BE CURBED WITH HEALTHY CHOICES
Charlotte, NC - A first-ever report released today estimates that obesity-related medical expenses in North Carolina add-up to more than $2.1 billion, with just over half of that coming at the expense of state taxpayers via Medicare and Medicaid.
According to North Carolina Prevention Partners, overweight and obesity-related illnesses cost Mecklenburg County residents $428 million annually. Killing nearly 300,000 people in the U.S. every year, unhealthy weight is second only to tobacco use in preventable causes of death.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests these figures will continue to increase if the risk factors remain unchecked.
Lifestyle habits play a direct role in the prevalence of obesity and related illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Increased physical activity and healthier food choices are considered essential elements in reducing our risks for obesity and other illnesses.
The Fit City Challenge presents Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents with the information and resources to act on their desire for personal and community health. The Fit City Challenge is a health and fitness initiative to assist participants in increasing their level of physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption. The basics of the Fit City Challenge are walking 5 miles per week, or equivalent exercise, and eating 5 fruits and vegetables each day, then recording progress in these fields on the program’s web site at
Mecklenburg County Health Director Peter Safir says today’s news is a reminder that unhealthy habits do not come without a cost. "It took us a while to get into this condition, and results won’t come overnight," says Safir, "but the Fit City Challenge offers us all a chance to take the first steps toward a healthier lifestyle."
For more information about the Fit City Challenge, log on to the program’s web site at
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Media Contact: D.C. Lucchesi at 704-432-0344 or