Health: Obesity and the USA

The Story:

Obesity rates in the United States rose markedly during the period from 1976 to 2000. They have continued to rise, though less quickly, in the years since those. Obesity prevalence increased in all gender-ethnic groups, though in some more than others. This is a critical health issue, because obesity has a range of expensive and life-shortening consequences, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease,  many types of cancer, and cognitive dysfunction.


Public health officials in the United States define obesity as an adult body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. The BMI is weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. For example, if an adult in 6′ tall, and weighs 200 lbs that person has a BMI of 27.1, which is considered overweight but short of obese.

In Pill Form: 

There are many factors that may have contributed to the post-’70s obesity epidemic. To take but one, the final quarter of the twentieth century saw the explosion of the the fast-food restaurant industry. It became the norm for many to subsist on food that they purchased from their car, driving past a window. The food that such restaurants serve is the food that is easiest to prepare quickly, and this can be very high in calories, carbs, and fat.



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