The Council of State Governments - WEST


May 15, 2013

In This Issue
Water Usage in the West
Strengthening California - Mexico Cooperation
Results First: Moving States Forward
Annual Meeting
Now Open
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July 30 - August 2, 2013

Las Vegas, Nevada

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Upcoming Webinars
Aging Inmates: 
The Continual 'Graying' of America's Prisons 
Thursday, May 30, 
2 p.m. EDT
Storm Recovery-Building Stronger, Smarter Electrical Grids 
Wednesday, June 12, 
2 p.m. EDT
States Act to 
Bolster Transportation Funding
Friday, June 14, 
2 p.m. EDT


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Obesity and Diabetes in the United States

By Nancy Coleman, CSG-WEST  Health Committee Coordinator


A new Gallup-Healthways study estimates that the obesity rate in the United States in 2012 has increased to 26.2% from 25.5% in 2008. Colorado leads the nation with the lowest rate of obesity (18.7%) nationwide - a distinction it has held since 2010.  West Virginia is the state with the highest obesity rate (33.5%), down from 35.3% in 2011. Obesity rates tend to be higher in the Southern and Midwest regions and lower in the Western and Eastern regions.  The CDC estimates medical care costs of obesity in the United States are staggering; in 2008 dollars, these costs totaled about $147 billion.


The problem with obesity isn't only increased weight, but increased risk of a number of chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes.  Gallup-Healthways also examined rates of diabetes and high blood pressure in the United State and found that 29.3% of adults diagnosed with high blood pressure was slightly lower, while 11% of adults reported having diabetes. According to the study, "diabetes rates are highest in the same states where obesity and high blood pressure levels are highest: West Virginia and Mississippi. Louisiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee are also among the top 10 states with the highest rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity."


The rapid growth of diabetes in the United States is a large contributor to increased U.S. health care costs.  Insurers are focusing their efforts in reducing health care costs for people who have chronic diseases and are accountable for a great portion of costs. The American Diabetes Association estimates the total costs of diagnosed diabetes has risen to $245 billion in 2012 from $174 billion in 2007. According to the CDC, diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, nontraumatic lower limb amputations, and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States.


As a result of the federal Affordable Care Act all insured individuals are eligible for counseling and an obesity screening at no cost. Increasing awareness of this benefit can help reduce health care costs, and improve the lives of many Americans.


For more information about the state of diabetes in the U.S. check out the CDC's 2012 Diabetes Report Card

This is the third in a series of short issue briefs that CSG-West will be publishing throughout the year. The issue briefs will cover a variety of topics. If you have a suggestion for a topic, feel free to send your ideas to

Early Bird Discount Ends Soon!


Experience the progress and dynamic nature of the West as the Nevada Legislature hosts the 66th CSG-WEST Annual Meeting from July 30 through August 2, 2013, in Las Vegas, Nevada.


The CSG-WEST Annual Meeting has a great line-up of keynote speakers. Magnus Lindkvist, a trends spotter, will address global trends and what it means for Western states. Howard Putnam, former Southwest Airlines CEO, will speak to successful leadership strategies. Rich Karlgaard, publisher and columnist for Forbes Magazine, will talk on the economy, and ABC Reporter Claire Shipman will address American politics.


As always, the CSG-WEST annual meeting will provide opportunities to participate in professional development sessions as well as policy forums on key Western issues such as water, health, education, economic development and trade, fiscal affairs, energy and public lands, and agriculture and rural affairs.    


Early Bird discount ends June 11th

Webinar: Aging Inmates: 
The Continual 'Graying' of America's Prisons 

Each year, about 675,000 elderly people are arrested, the U.S. Department of Justice says. These inmates can cost four times as much as other inmates to incarcerate because they likely will require regular medical attention, specialized facilities that are wheelchair accessible and are generally in poorer health than their younger counterparts. In fact, some statistics note that the cost of housing an elderly inmate is comparable to incarcerating prisoners in maximum-security prisons. Experts say the explosion of elderly inmates in the American penal system is not attributed to an elderly crime wave, but rather several factors that will continue to put more elderly people behind bars and continue to keep them behind bars longer. The Council of State Governments' Southern Legislative Conference issued reports on this topic in 1998 and 2006. This webinar will explore the graying of America's prisons, with a look at how states can save money by consolidating elderly inmate populations, implementing early release for terminally ill or otherwise innocuous elderly prisoners, and implementing general policies that can limit victimization inside prison and address recidivism of elderly offenders upon release.


Register Today

The mission of CSG-WEST is to facilitate regional, nonpartisan cooperation and exchange of information, and to strengthen legislative institutions among our 13 member states. These services are achieved through a variety of programs and services offered to legislators and their staff, including the convening of policy forums, professional development training, international relations opportunities, publications and institutional links with other political entities in the West.

CSG-WEST serves the Western legislatures of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Associate members include the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia and the Pacific islands of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam.