Measuring Progress in Obesity Prevention (2012)

Obesity is recognized as a paramount public health problem. Obesity and overweight are associated with cardiovascular  disease, diabetes, certain forms of cancer, and other conditions that are primary causes of mortality and morbidity in the United States. Obesity increased sharply during the last few decades of the 20th century, and while some statistics indicate that the increase has leveled off, at least in selected population groups, overall rates remain unacceptably high. People who struggle with weight as children are far more likely than other children to do so as adults, and excess weight can cause myriad health problems throughout the life span. Obesity also is especially prevalent among racial and ethnic minorities and in low-income communities.
Those working to turn these trends around have faced an uphill battle. For example, the American public is awash in ever more sophisticated marketing of high-calorie foods and beverages with limited nutritional value, and many aspects of our society discourage the natural human impulse to move. These are among the reasons why attention is shifting from treating individual patients who are overweight or obese to addressing the powerful environmental and policy influences that operate at the community level and even more broadly in U.S. society. download

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