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Fiscal Notes

 

Fiscal Notes

A Review of the Texas Economy from the Office of Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

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A Central Source for Texas Obesity Information

New Comptroller website offers sweeping look at epidemic

By Michael Castellon

Tools for Change

Reshaping Texas, the Comptroller’s one-stop shop for obesity-related news and data, includes success stories to help you see how Texans are working toward solutions in their communities. Check out ReshapingTexas.org now.

In 2011, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs published a report that spurred state and national discussions about the growing obesity epidemic — and its effects on our economy.

Gaining Costs, Losing Time, an update to a report published four years earlier, contained stunning conclusions; among them, that obesity-related costs for Texas businesses reached $9.5 billion in 2009, and may climb to $32 billion by 2030 if left unchecked.

Today, more than 20 percent of Texas children aged 10 to 17 are obese.

“It’s hard to overstate the effect obesity and related illnesses are having throughout our economy and our society,” Combs says. “It’s a problem affecting our schools, our workplaces, homes and businesses. Solutions will require information and initiative, and we hope to help.”

The 2011 Texas Legislature asked the Comptroller’s office to create an online resource to provide Texans with information and other resources on the impacts of obesity. The site, which launched in December 2012, spotlights costs associated with obesity, funding opportunities, obesity-related news and research and initiatives across the state aimed at fighting obesity.



Reshaping Texas includes an interactive mapping feature that uses Body Mass Index (BMI) results collected by school districts to indicate where in Texas students are most at risk of obesity.

The BMI data comes from FITNESSGRAM, a physical fitness test developed by the Cooper Institute of Dallas and adopted for Texas schools in 2008. FITNESSGRAM is a software program that assesses physical fitness by measuring body composition, aerobic capacity, strength, endurance and flexibility, and comparing the results to age-appropriate, research-based fitness standards. The test has been used to assess the physical fitness of more than 2.4 million Texas students representing 84 percent of school districts.

The mapping tool is of particular interest to researchers, scholars and policymakers, as it helps them to gauge how socioeconomic factors such as median household income and child poverty levels compare in areas of high risk for childhood obesity.

“Reshaping Texas provides a central clearinghouse for data, apps, tools and success stories. This is a central, one-stop shop that we’re committed to fostering and growing, to help Texas battle the economic and personal impacts of obesity.”

— Susan Combs,
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

“Reshaping Texas provides a central clearinghouse for data, apps, tools and success stories,” Combs says. “There’s something here for everyone — parents, scholars, school administrators and policymakers. This is a central, one-stop shop that we’re committed to fostering and growing, to help Texas battle the economic and personal impacts of obesity.” FN

Get the latest obesity news, data, legislation and more by visiting ReshapingTexas.org.

Published Feb. 20, 2013.

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