Obesity Crisis

November 30, 2018 • Volume 28, Issue 42
Should government do more to control rising rates?
By Susan Straight


Los Angeles residents take part in a fitness session (Cover: AP Photo/Weight Watchers/Matt Sayles)
Los Angeles residents take part in a fitness session sponsored by Weight Watchers (now known as WW) in Santa Monica, Calif., on Aug. 11, 2018. Experts say exercise can be a key to maintaining a healthy weight. Only 26 percent of men and 19 percent of women meet federal exercise standards. (Cover: AP Photo/Weight Watchers/Matt Sayles)

Obesity rates in the United States are at record highs, a trend that costs the country billions of dollars each year in medical expenses and lost productivity. Experts cite a range of causes, including sedentary lifestyles, ads that aggressively market fattening food to children and hormonal factors that doom many diets to failure. A number of studies link excess weight to heart disease, diabetes and other health problems, but some nutritionists say people with obesity often live long, healthy lives. Experts also debate the value of taxes on junk food and sugary beverages, with some saying such steps unfairly punish people living in areas where healthy food is often unavailable. As obesity rates rise, many health professionals are calling for a new way to measure body fat, saying the formula in use now is imprecise and misleading. Pentagon officials, meanwhile, say the obesity epidemic threatens military readiness, as increasing numbers of would-be recruits are deemed too overweight to serve.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Dec. 02, 2022  Long COVID
Oct. 29, 2021  COVID-19 Vaccines
Jan. 08, 2021  Health and Society
Nov. 20, 2020  The Public Health System
Jul. 17, 2020  The Pandemic Economy
Jun. 26, 2020  Zoonotic Diseases
May 08, 2020  CTE and Athletes
Jan. 24, 2020  Conquering Rare Diseases
Sep. 13, 2019  Measles Resurgence
Nov. 30, 2018  Obesity Crisis
Jun. 15, 2018  Superbug Threat
Jun. 02, 2017  Pandemic Threat
Jul. 22, 2016  Mosquito-Borne Disease
Feb. 13, 2015  Emerging Infectious Diseases
Nov. 08, 2013  Lyme Disease
Jan. 06, 2012  Preventing Disease
Apr. 02, 2010  Breast Cancer
Sep. 12, 2008  Heart Health
Aug. 24, 2007  Fighting Superbugs
Jan. 13, 2006  Avian Flu Threat
Jun. 20, 2003  Fighting SARS
Apr. 05, 2002  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Mar. 09, 2001  Diabetes Epidemic
Mar. 02, 2001  Mad Cow Disease
Dec. 24, 1999  Asthma Epidemic
Aug. 05, 1983  Multiple Sclerosis
May 27, 1983  Chronic Pain: The Hidden Epidemic
Sep. 24, 1976  Influenza Control
Sep. 16, 1970  Virus Research
Mar. 14, 1956  Progress Against Polio
May 25, 1955  Degenerative Diseases
May 25, 1949  Chronic Disease
Mar. 01, 1924  The Foot and Mouth Disease
Aging Issues
Consumer Behavior
Defense Personnel
Elementary and Secondary Education
Employee Benefits
Men's Health Issues
Obesity and Weight Control
Women's Health Issues