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November 5, 2015

The Honorable Lois Capps


2231 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Ms. Capps:

As a Californian to another Californian, I encourage you to support H.R. 2404: Treat and Reduce
Obesity Act of 2015, sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen.1 It is currently introduced to the
Subcommittee on Health.1 This bill will require the Department of Health and Human Services
(HHS) to assess whether additional benefits to existing Medicare services reduces obesity among
older adults receiving Medicare and make recommendation(s) to fill any gaps.1

More than 34.9% (78.6 million) U.S. adults are obese.2 According to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), about 35.4% adults age 60 and over are obese.2 Furthermore,
21.9% of adults 65 and older are obese in California.3 Reducing obesity is paramount not only in
improving quality of life, but also reducing chronic diseases associated with obesity, such as
cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis.4 If this bill is passed, access
to health care professional for behavior therapy and prescription for weight loss drugs to
overweight or obese older adults will be granted by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
(CMS) and changes will be made to the title XVIII of Social Security Act.1

As a current dietetic student and future registered dietitian (RD), I applaud Congress for
including other health care professionals on this bill, such as physician assistant, nurse, clinical
psychologist, nutrition professionals, and especially RDs who are qualified to address obesity
due to their expertise in medical nutrition therapy to aid weight loss and weight management.1
For example, RDs may help with better time management to include exercise and meal planning.

The obesity rate according to Healthy People 2020 for ages 65 and over was 35.6% versus the
target of 30.5% during 2009 to 2012.5 Medicare benefits do not include access to weight loss
drugs and behavior therapy. Equipping older adults with these tools will address disparity of
obesity in older adults, thereby decreasing rate of obesity.

I agree with all the stipulations of this bill (H.R. 2404) and ask you to take the following actions:
1. Cosponsor this bill.
2. Discuss the benefits of this bill with the committee.

Thank you for your time. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. I would appreciate
a response to my letter.

Regards,

Rabeha Kaiser
REFERENCES:

1. H.R.2404: Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2015, 2015: Hearings on HR2404 Before the
Subcommittee on Health of the Representative Committee on Energy and Commerce, 114th
Cong, 1st Sess (2015).

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adult Obesity Facts. Updated September 21,
2015. http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html. Accessed November 1, 2015.

3. California Department of Public Health. Obesity in California: The Weight of the State,
2000-2012. 2014;1-34.
https://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/cpns/Documents/ObesityinCaliforniaReport.pdf.
Accessed November 1, 2015.

4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Overweight and Obesity Statistics. Updated
October 2012. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-
statistics/Pages/overweight-obesity-statistics.aspx. Accessed November 1, 2015.

5. Nutrition and Weight Status. Healthy People 2020.


http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/nutrition-and-weight-status.
Accessed November 1, 2015.