Study: Americans fatter than ever and getting even fatter
Obesity termed major public health threatMay 28, 1998
Web posted at: 11:02 p.m. EDT (0302 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In spite of diet pills, the fitness craze and more detailed nutrition labels on food, Americans are fatter than ever, and the authors of a new study say if the trend continues, virtually every U.S. adult will be overweight in a few generations.
"The trend will continue. There is no indication that it will turn around. Actually, it seems to be getting worse," said nutritionist James Hill of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, the study's lead author.
The study, reported in the most recent edition of the journal Science, shows that 54 percent of all adults in the United States are overweight. That percentage has increased by about a third in the last 20 years. The study also shows that 22 percent of U.S. adults are obese.
And more heavy adults could be on the way because more than 25 percent of today's children are overweight or obese, the study showed -- a level that has risen 40 percent over the last 16 years.
Hill blames the environment in which Americans live. He says there is too much food available, social situations encourage overeating, restaurants compete with each other by offering bigger and bigger servings and technology has made it possible to avoid exercise.
"Becoming obese is a normal response to the American environment," Hill said. "If the environment continues to encourage high (food) intake and low activity, then we'll all be overweight."
Indeed, Hill says that the obesity epidemic is a major public health threat, and he says there needs to be a change in public policy to combat it.
"I think we have got to realize that yelling at people louder is not going to get them to do things," Hill said.
Among his suggestions:
Medical Correspondent Dr. Steve Salvatore and Reuters contributed to this report.
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