Tampa, Fla. – The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) applauds a bipartisan group of 42 United States Senators who today sent a strong message to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Michael Leavitt, urging him to encourage the National Institutes of Health to update its decade-old guidelines for identification, evaluation and treatment of obesity. Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) authored the July 21 letter to HHS Secretary Leavitt after meeting with leaders of the OAC.

Leaders from the obesity community personally met with more than 50 Senate offices to discuss the impact of the growing obesity epidemic on our country. “Meeting with these Senators and their staff truly gave the OAC the chance to elaborate on the seriousness of this disease and why it is so critical for the NIH to update its 1998 obesity guidelines which practitioners rely upon for treatment plans and for which insurers rely upon for coverage policies,” said OAC President and CEO Joseph Nadglowski, Jr. “Senators Bayh and Alexander should be commended for their leadership efforts on this issue and others affecting patient access to care for individuals suffering from obesity,” Mr. Nadglowski continued.

Following are the 42 Senators on the July 21 Bayh/Alexander letter: Alexander (R-TN), Baucus (D-MT), Bayh (D-IN), Bingaman (D-NM), Burr (R-NC), Cardin (D-MD), Carper (D-DE), Casey (D-PA), Chambliss (R-GA), Clinton (D-NY), Cochran (R-MS), Conrad (D-ND), Corker (R-TN), Dodd (D-CT), Dole (R-TN), Dorgan (D-ND), Durbin (D-IL), Enzi (R-WY), Feingold (D-WI), Harkin (D-IA), Inouye (D-HI), Isakson (R-GA), Kennedy (D-MA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Landrieu (D-LA), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Levin (D-MI), Lieberman (I-CT), Lugar (R-IN), Martinez (R-FL), Menendez (D-NJ), Mikulski (D-MD), Murkowski (R-AK), Murray (D-WA), Sanders (I-VT), Schumer (D-NY), Snowe (R-ME), Stabenow (D-MI), Tester (D-MT), Voinovich (R-OH), Wicker (R-MS) and Wyden (D-OR).

Obesity is a serious health epidemic that targets one in three Americans and nearly one in four Floridians. It is estimated that more than 93 million Americans are affected by obesity, with that number predicted to climb to 120 million in the next five years. In order to address this epidemic, the OAC recognizes and promotes increasing prevention efforts and improving access to safe and effective treatment options, such as nutrition counseling, physician supervised weight-loss (with or without pharmaceuticals) and for appropriately selected candidates, bariatric surgery.

About the OAC
The OAC is a nonprofit National charity dedicated to helping those affected by obesity. The OAC was formed to bring together individuals struggling with weight issues and provide educational resources and advocacy tools.