CDC Calls Obesity a “Winnable Battle”


Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control

Dr. Thomas Frieden

Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has named the agency’s six top priorities. The items on this “short list” are obesity and nutrition, AIDS, smoking, teen pregnancy, auto injuries and health care infections. Frieden had deemed these problems “winnable battles” because proven programs can reduce the harm caused by each of these conditions and save lives. “In each of these areas we know what to do to make a difference and we need to do it to a much greater extent,” he said in an interview.

Frieden previously worked as New York City‘s health commissioner. At that post, he lead an anti-smoking campaign to ban cigarettes in the workplace. He worked to improve the diets of New Yorkers by banning artificial trans fat from all restaurant foods. He also worked to pass a law that requires chain restaurants to post calorie information about their food. Frieden was also a proponent of the hotly debated soda tax.

Many worry that these priorities will divert funding and attention from other health issues, like Hepatitis B and C vaccinations. CDC officials have said that they will not abandon other public health missions. The Obama administration approves of the choice to target these public health issues. “Getting focused, and getting some quick wins under your belt, is terribly important,” said Victor Strecher, a University of Michigan health behavior expert.

Via the Associated Press.

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