California Health Care Experts to Fight Obesity

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State health officials today joined more than 1,700 health care policymakers, educators and business leaders at the 2007 California Childhood Obesity Conference in Anaheim to issue a call to action in the fight against childhood obesity. Obesity prevention is a top priority for the Schwarzenegger Administration and a major component of the Governor's health care reform proposal to lower overall health care costs, support better coverage for all Californians and create a healthier Golden State.

In his welcome letter to attendees of this year's conference, the Governor said, "Children's obesity represents one of the most critical public health challenges facing our state and nation. However, California has made significant progress. We have taken action and partnered with key players to aggressively implement strategies that will limit obesity. Together, we will be part of the solution to make California the healthiest state in the nation."

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The four-day conference, Protecting the Future of Our Children, is the largest focusing on childhood obesity in the United States. Organized by the California Department of Health Services (CDHS), California Department of Education, Center for Weight and Health at the University of California, Berkeley, and The California Endowment, the conference addresses the nation's childhood obesity epidemic with specific concentration on prevention strategies aimed at high-risk and low-income communities.

Obesity threatens to surpass tobacco as the leading cause of preventable death among Californians and costs the state $28.5 billion in health care costs, lost productivity and workers' compensation.

"Obesity is our highest prevention priority," said Kimberly Belsh

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