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Obesity and Health

January 15, 1999 • Volume 9, Issue 2
Are Americans eating themselves to death?
By Adriel Bettelheim

Introduction

“Saturday Night Live” comedian Chris Farley died in December 1997 of a drug overdose after suffering health problems associated with his obesity. (Photo Credit: Richard Corker, New York Daily News/KRT)
“Saturday Night Live” comedian Chris Farley died in December 1997 of a drug overdose after suffering health problems associated with his obesity. (Photo Credit: Richard Corker, New York Daily News/KRT)

Bad eating habits, a sedentary lifestyle and ever-larger portions of food have conspired to make the United States the fattest nation on Earth. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 97 million American adults – 55 percent of the adult population – now are overweight or obese. Public health officials say that weight problems often lead to chronic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and contribute to as many as 300,000 deaths annually. Dieting and more exercise are the two most obvious solutions. But many Americans who lack the time or will are turning to medically assisted weight loss and diet drugs that promise to melt away pounds without significant lifestyle changes. Few of the drugs have been rigorously tested, and some have proven dangerous.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Nutrition and Health
Oct. 01, 2010  Preventing Obesity
Apr. 07, 2006  Rising Health Costs
Feb. 10, 2006  Eating DisordersUpdated
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
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
Pharmaceuticals
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