The Weight of the Nation: Challenges
Obesity is a very serious medical condition, no longer viewed as strictly an issue of cosmetics. It’s a contributing factor in the death and disability of too many of our neighbors, friends and family members, and its societal costs are astronomical. Although overall obesity prevalence rates appear to be leveling off, there are still far too many Americans who are overweight or obese – approximately one-third of adults are obese and another third are overweight.
Besides facing an increased risk of premature death, people who are obese are at greater risk of serious medical conditions that can make them very sick, potentially subjecting them to constant pain and suffering and diminished quality of life. Obesity not only drives up health care costs for patients and families, it costs businesses – and the country – tens of billions of dollars in lost productivity and higher employee health costs.
While obesity is often viewed as an issue of personal responsibility, overeating is as much about biology as it is about psychology. There is much we still don’t know about the causes of obesity. Biological research has found that behaviors that are laid down early in life contribute to obesity. Environmental factors, such as access to safe parks and affordable healthy foods, also play a role.
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