Capitol Forum on the Comprehensive Treatment of Obesity

Representative Vanessa Brown and Representative Donna Oberlander were both in attendance and gave opening remarks. Representative Oberlander gave a brief overview of the event and attested to the quality of Women In Government (WIG) programs and Representative Brown gave a personal vignette about her struggles with obesity and emphasized the importance of the forum. In addition, Representative Brown introduced the speaker. Ted Kyle from Conscienhealth and the Obesity Action Coalition shared a poignant presentation about erasing the stigma behind obesity in an effort to have a more comprehensive approach to solving the disease in society today. He emphasized obesity as a complex disease with more factors then simply caloric intake as the sole determinant. He concluded by giving policymakers a list top properties including improving access to care, making obesity treatment a part of the essential healthcare benefits provided by the state and investing in community based prevention. To view his presentation click here.

Concluding the programming, Representative Brown facilitated a lively Question and Answer session in which many attendees asked follow up questions concerning the presentation and current programs Pennsylvania offers and supports surrounding the treatment of obesity. Tiffany Bransteitter the Section Chief for Pennsylvania’s Department of Health - Obesity Prevention & Wellness Unit spoke about the current work her office is doing to help lower obesity rates in the state. One program initiative focuses on providing healthy school lunches to children, another invests in extensive research to see how increases exercise can lower the risk of obesity and obesity related diseases such as diabetes. Each of her colleagues also spoke about their specific programs and initiatives within the Department of Health.  

At the conclusion of the Question and Answer session, Representative Brown proposed the idea of having an Obesity Policy Hearing. She would like to continue work at the capitol on raising awareness and changing healthcare policy on obesity. Women In Government will be happy to coonitnue its efforts on obesity at future  capitol forums.