Obesity Progress and Challenges

Obesity: Progress and Challenges

By Amy Winterfeld and Richard Cauchi | Vol . 22, No. 18 / May 2014

NCSL NewsObesity, a common and costly health issue, affects more than one-third of adults and 17 percent of youth in the United States. By the numbers, 78 million adults and 12 million children are obese—figures many regard as an epidemic. Adults are considered obese when they are about 35 pounds overweight, as are children whose body mass index is at or above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and sex. Being obese increases the risk for heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes—the first, fourth and seventh leading causes of death, respectively—and contributes to more than one in five cancer-related deaths. The American Medical Association recognized obesity as a disease in 2013 and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended obesity prevention, assessment and patient counseling in 2007.

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