My mailbox is overflowing with new reports and commentary about obesity. Here are some examples:
State medical expenses: The journal, Obesity, has an analysis of the cost of obesity to states. Obesity costs states an additional 7 to 11% in medical expenses. Between 22% (Virginia) and 55% (Rhode Island) of state costs of obesity are paid by taxpayers through Medicare and Medicaid.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation series on preventing childhood obesity:
- Food marketing to children: U.S. Businesses Show Mixed Progress on Marketing a Healthy Diet to Children and Adolescents
- Industry self-regulation: Self-Regulation by Food and Beverage Industry Does Little to Reduce Kids’ Exposure to Unhealthy TV Ads
- New York City’s menu labeling regulation: Customers Who Use Menu-Labeling Information Order Fewer Calories
- The ban on sugar-sweetened drinks in Boston schools: Boston High School Students Drinking Fewer Sugary Beverages
From the Campaign to End Obesity:
Obesity Rates Projected to Soar, ABC News, 8.25.11: Will half the U.S. population be obese by 2030? The current trajectory would see 65 million more obese adults, raising the national total to 164 million. Roughly one-third of the U.S. population is currently obese.
In U.S., Obesity Rates Remain Higher Than 20% in All States, Gallup, 8.25.11: Colorado continues to be the state with the lowest obesity rate in the country, at 20.1% in the first half of 2011. West Virginia has the highest obesity rate in January through June 2011, at 34.3%, which is also the highest Gallup has measured for any state since it began tracking obesity rates in 2008.
Reversing the obesity epidemic will take time, LA Times, 8.26.11: The old rule that cutting out or burning 500 calories a day will result in a steady, 1-pound-per-week weight loss doesn’t reflect real people, researchers say. For the typical overweight adult, every 10-calorie-per-day reduction will result in the loss of about 1 pound over three years.
I’ve commented on some of these in previous posts. If you find the avalanche of studies overwhelming, you are in good company. I do too, but will summarize my take on the literature in my forthcoming book with Malden Nesheim, Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics, due out from University of California Press in March 2012. Stay tuned.