NYTimes.com Article: U.S. Warning of Death Toll From Obesity
Fri, 14 Dec 2001 14:04:00 -0800 (PST)
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I wonder if the anti-smoking campaign roots in the 1950's sounded this pat -- I'm not interested in this article because it's "obvious" -- just as generations "knew" cigarettes were 'cancer sticks' and 'coffin nails'.
And yet, thirty years later, as the costs were quantified by medicare budgets & VA bills, it became a genuine public health issue, the tobacco lobby (fastfood) finally got really defensive, and then the dam burst.
But it's still one of the leading causes of preventable death.
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U.S. Warning of Death Toll From Obesity
December 14, 2001
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 - Some 300,000 Americans a year die
from illnesses caused or worsened by obesity, a toll that
may soon overtake tobacco as the chief cause of preventable
deaths, Dr. David Satcher, the surgeon general, said today.
Dr. Satcher called for major steps by schools, communities
and industry to fight obesity.
"We're not talking about quick-fix diets," Dr. Satcher
said. "We're talking about lifestyles."
About 60 percent of adults are overweight or obese, as are
nearly 13 percent of children. According to the surgeon
general's height and weight index, a 5-foot-6 adult is
overweight at 160 pounds and obese at 190. The toll of
obesity has been rising and threatens to wipe out progress
fighting cancer, heart disease and other ailments, Dr.
The reason is not a mystery: People eat more calories -
often by shunning fruits and vegetables in favor of
super-size junk foods - than they work off.
Losing even 10 pounds can reduce the risk of getting
diabetes or heart disease, Dr. Satcher said, as can simply
walking 30 minutes a day.
"Every pound counts," he said.
Dr. Satcher's other recommendations included these:
¶Schools must provide daily physical education for every
¶Schools must provide more healthful food options and
better enforce federal rules restricting students' access
to junk food in vending machines.
¶Communities must create safe playgrounds, sidewalks or
walking trails, particularly in cities. Employers should
provide time for workers to get physical activity on the
¶Industry should promote more healthful food choices,
including "reasonable portion sizes."
The poor have a tendency to be fattest, and Dr. Satcher
noted that in inner cities, fast-food restaurants often
crowd out sources of more healthful foods. He urged
communities to study fast-food marketing practices. And he
encouraged government projects to increase access to fruits
The National Restaurant Association rejected as simplistic
the idea that fast-food restaurants cause obesity, and the
National Soft Drink Association urged more focus on the
exercise recommendations. Consumer advocates praised the
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