Obesity Treatment


Obesity is a severe and growing problem in the United States. Adult obesity rates have more than doubled since 1980, and today exceed 30 percent; over the same time period, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled.

The implications of these trends are alarming. Obesity represents a major risk factor for a variety of chronic illnesses, including diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, stroke, heart disease, specific cancers, and arthritis. If the number of obese Americans continues to increase at current rates, half of all Americans will be obese by 2020, and obesity-related medical expenses will reach $344 billion, approximately 21 percent of all health care spending.

Reversing this epidemic will require a cooperative, sustained effort that includes ongoing education, as well as cultural and lifestyle changes. Family physicians can play an important role by providing dietary and exercise counseling, and by educating patients about the health risks that obesity triggers. In the months and years ahead, the AAFP will continue to work with state and federal agencies and others to develop sustainable strategies for fostering healthier lifestyles for all Americans. 

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