Overweight and Health

November 15, 1967

Report Outline
Growing Medical Interest in Overweight
Dimensions of Problem of Excess Weight
Fresh Approaches to Overweight Problem
Special Focus

Growing Medical Interest in Overweight

Recognition of Obesity as Real Health Problem

Obesity is an ugly word doctors use to denote an excess accumulation of body fat that adds more than 10 per cent to the weight considered desirable for the health and well-being of an individual. One of the purposes of using the word is to shock the overly plump into weight-reducing action. Some do in fact find the diagnosis so displeasing that it firms their resolve to stick to a prescribed low-calorie diet. Others are so hurt that they are driven all the more to the comfort of over-eating.

Medical interest in weight control is not new but it is taking several new directions. Doctors have discovered that getting an overweight patient to reduce is not always so simple a proposition as it once seemed. The more that is learned about the physiological and psychological factors in weight gain and loss, the more complex these processes seem to be. Efforts to help the obese thin down are not among the medical profession's great success stories. A surprising number of patients seem unable to lose weight or to maintain a reduced weight. Doubts have arisen as to what actually constitutes an ideal weight for each individual. While excess fat is still regarded as a health handicap, some authorities have suggested that certain heavyweights might be better off as they are, if relieved of the pressure put on them to reduce.

One thing is not questioned: Overweight is a stubborn and very real medical problem in the United States, a byproduct of an affluent society with a sedentary population and an abundant food supply. “Obesity is one of the most prevalent health problems in the United States today,” according to Dr. Samuel M. Fox, chief of the Heart Disease Control Program of the National Center for Chronic Disease Control in the U.S. Public Health Service, “and it is regarded as abnormal by most physicians and laymen. …The higher mortality experience of obese persons and the additional hazard that obesity imposes in certain conditions make it a major health problem.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Oct. 30, 2015  Dietary Supplements
Aug. 08, 2014  Global Hunger
Oct. 01, 2010  Preventing Obesity
Apr. 07, 2006  Rising Health Costs
Feb. 10, 2006  Eating Disorders Updated
Sep. 03, 2004  Dietary Supplements
Jan. 31, 2003  Obesity Epidemic
Feb. 23, 2001  Diet and Health
Jan. 15, 1999  Obesity and Health
Sep. 26, 1997  Youth Fitness
Apr. 14, 1995  Dieting and Health
Jul. 08, 1994  Dietary Supplements
Dec. 18, 1992  Eating Disorders
Nov. 06, 1992  Physical Fitness
Jul. 31, 1992  Infant Mortality
Oct. 25, 1991  World Hunger
Mar. 16, 1990  Public-Health Campaigns: Do They Go Too Far?
Apr. 29, 1988  How America Eats
Sep. 06, 1985  Anorexia and Other Eating Disorders
May 18, 1984  Dining in America
Aug. 26, 1983  Staying Healthy
Nov. 19, 1982  Weight Control: A National Obsession
Oct. 17, 1980  Caffeine Controversy
Apr. 14, 1978  Physical Fitness Boom
Jun. 17, 1977  Obesity and Health
Feb. 22, 1974  Heart Research
Aug. 01, 1973  Nutrition in America
Dec. 02, 1970  Infant Health
Nov. 15, 1967  Overweight and Health
Aug. 10, 1966  Dental Health
Jul. 13, 1966  Prolongation of Life
May 09, 1962  Outdoor Recreation
Nov. 26, 1958  Dieting and Health
Jul. 13, 1949  Recreation for Millions
May 13, 1941  Nutrition and National Health
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Obesity and Weight Control