Surgeon General issues warning that obesity is now a major threat to life in U.S – Health

Surgeon General issues warning that obesity is now a major threat to life in U.S – Health – Brief Article

Some 300,000 Americans die each year from illnesses caused or aggravated by being overweight or obese–a death toll that threatens to reverse many significant health gains achieved by the nation in recent decades, warned U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher as he called for a national attack on obesity.

“We’re not talking about quick-fix diets–we’re talking about lifestyles,” said Satcher, who offered strategies to help schools, workplaces and communities fight the battle of the bulge in his newly released report, “The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity.”

According to government figures, about 60 percent of adults and 13 percent of children in the U.S. are overweight or obese, putting them at greater risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and stroke. While obesity in adults has doubled since 1980, the prevalence of overweight adolescents has tripled, resulting in higher incidences of asthma and Type 2 diabetes among children.

Among Blacks, nearly 70 percent of Black women are overweight or obese, compared to 58 percent of Black men. Lower-income families also tend to be heavier than more affluent ones, since “sometimes the most fattening foods are the cheapest,” Satcher revealed.

In issuing his “call to action,” Satcher made it clear that obesity is not just a personal responsibility, but one shared by the community and industry.

“When there are no safe places for children to play, or for adults to walk, jog or ride a bike, that’s a community responsibility,” he said. “When school lunchrooms or workplace cafeterias don’t offer healthy and appealing food choices, that’s a community responsibility.”

As for overweight Americans, Satcher said that even losing 10 pounds or simply walking 30 minutes a day can reduce someone’s risk of getting diabetes or heart disease.

“Every pound counts,” he said.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Johnson Publishing Co.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group