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Obesity Prevention Better Funded Than Anti-Tobacco Programs

Funding has been shifted from anti-tobacco programs to give more financial support to fighting obesity.

The increased attention the fight against obesity has been enjoying over the last year comes at its own price.

Funding from both private firms and the federal government has been shifted from anti-tobacco programs to give more financial support to fighting obesity.

In March, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius awarded $372 million to prevention programs, 62 percent of which was allotted to obesity programs, while tobacco prevention received only 38 percent.

The New York Times reports that Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, sees the funding allocation as disproportionate:

Given that tobacco kills four times as many people as obesity does, why is the government putting more money into obesity?

However, smoking rates have plummeted in recent years, while the rate of obese Americans has doubled since 1985 and is attributed to spike in health care costs.

What do you think? Should funding resources favor healthy eating and exercise or smoking prevention and cessation?

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Megan Meyer

Megan Meyer was in the company of foodies for most of her formative years. She spent all of her teens working at her town's natural food co-op in South Dakota, and later when she moved to Minneapolis, worked as a produce maven for the nation's longest running collectively-managed food co-op. In 2006, she had the distinct pleasure (and pain) of participating the vendanges, or grape harvest, in the Beaujolais terroire of France, where she developed her compulsion to snip off grape clusters wherever they may hang. In the spring of 2008, Megan interned on NPR's Science Desk in Washington, D.C., where she aided in the coverage of science, health and food policy stories. She joined Indiana Public Media in June, 2009.

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