© 2023 KUNR
An illustrated mountainscape with trees and a broadcast tower.
Serving Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Healthcare Leaders Call For More State Data On Obesity


A bill under consideration now would collect more information about obesity in Nevada and the efforts to prevent it. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

A senate committee heard testimony Monday on a bill that would require the state to give an annual report on obesity rates, including a demographic breakdown of the problem.

Ben Schmauss is the government relations director for the American Heart Association in Nevada. About a third of American children are either overweight or obese now, and Schmauss says that collecting this information will help future generations.

"One study has shown that obese children's arteries resemble those of middle-aged adults," Schmauss says. "These children are being sentence to a future of cardiovascular disease and disability and premature morbidity."

This legislation would also define obesity as a chronic disease within Nevada state law. Tracey Green is chief medical officer for the state's division of public and behavioral health. She says the definition would clarify that obesity is a medical condition, not simply a fad or a personal choice, and that could help bring in more research dollars.

"As we're applying for additional grants and funding," Green explains, "that's another arena where we would see the expansion of the definition allowing for, hopefully, us to draw down additional funds."

At Monday's hearing, no one testified against the bill, which is sponsored by Democratic Senator Mo Denis, but there was discussion of whether these changes could trigger new requirements for health insurance plans. Green said that under the Affordable Care Act, obesity is already listed as a covered benefit for prevention.

Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.
Related Content