Health officials suggest Californians shed pounds to help state save

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As California tries to close its budget gap by shedding programs and services, a public health non-profit suggests that Californians shed some pounds, too. KPCC’s Alex Cohen has more on the conclusions of a new statewide study.

Forty-one billion dollars. That’s how much the state spent a couple of years ago to deal with the problems of obese, overweight, and physically inactive Californians, says a new report by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy.

Researchers arrived at that figure by adding up health care costs and lost productivity. In Los Angeles County, the annual cost of obesity approached $12 billion. Orange County spent more than $3 billion. The study estimates that costs could balloon to $53 billion in the next couple of years.

The California Center for Public Health Advocacy recommends that local agencies promote healthy eating and physical activity. Los Angeles County has supported initiatives with similar goals – they include banning trans fats in restaurants.