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November 4, 2004

Ortiz to Address Obesity at Puerto Rico Conference

Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz (D-51st) Chair of the Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy will be addressing fellow legislators and experts in the field of health on the obesity epidemic sweeping across the United States. Ortiz is the author of several pieces of legislation (A.5520-A, A.6620, A.8711, A.9145, and A.9176) aimed at stemming the spread of obesity, which is burdening the healthcare system, and endangering the future of our nation.

In 2003 the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated the following, "The obesity epidemic is the No. 1 health threat in the United States. It has all the characteristics of a mass epidemic. ... We are going to see unprecedented increases in chronic diseases if we don't get this obesity epidemic under control." The NYC Health Department found that nearly half of elementary-aged children are overweight. Nationally nearly 300,000 deaths each year are linked to obesity, close to the 400,000 annual deaths from tobacco. Over one-half million New Yorkers are diabetic and heart attacks are the leading cause of death among New York women. One in three U.S. children born in 2000 may become diabetic at some point in their lives; nearly half of black and Hispanic children are likely to develop the disease. The Cancer Society estimates that medical costs from obesity in New York are close to $4.7 billion annually and 55% of Medicaid recipients exceed a healthy weight.

"Anyone who learns of these shocking facts should understand why it is imperative that we respond now to the most costly threat to public health in this country," stated Ortiz.

Ortiz will be addressing guests on Sunday, November 7, 2004 at the Wyndham El San Juan Hotel in Puerto Rico during the Annual Somos El Futuro Winter Conference.