Obesity has reached epidemic proportions both in New York and across the nation. While most epidemics can be defeated with a pill or a vaccine, obesity requires people to change the way they eat and live, and so in many ways is much harder to successfully defeat.
Failing to win the battle against obesity will mean premature death and disability for an increasingly large segment of New York residents. By 2010, some have predicted that the root causes of the obesity epidemic—poor nutrition and physical inactivity—will be among the leading underlying causes of preventable deaths in the U.S. And, what makes mounting a successful battle so urgent is that obesity is a problem not just for adults, but for children, as well. If the battle isn’t won soon it will be a war that will be with us for generations to come.
Things to consider:
* The percentage of New York State adults who are overweight or obese increased from 42% in 1997 to 57% in 2002.
* The percentage of obese adults in New York State more than doubled from 10% in 1997 to 21% in 2002.
* Obesity among children and adolescents has tripled over the past three decades.
* Obesity-related illnesses cost the United States an estimated $117 billion and New York State more than $6 billion.
Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for many serious chronic diseases and conditions including:
Increasingly many of these diseases, thought to be conditions faced in adulthood, are also being seen in overweight and obese children. Along with the risks for chronic diseases, being overweight in a society that stigmatizes this condition is also associated with serious shame, self-blame, low self-esteem and depression.