May 18, 2024

Will obesity be our greatest public health threat?

Federal panel calls for dietary change
Ms Donna Simpson

Americans were urged this week to radically
change their diets and get more physical activity by an expert panel who
declared obesity “the single greatest threat to public health in this century.”

An advisory committee for the 2010 Dietary Guidelines
for Americans
is calling people to cut their added sugars and solid
fats consumption and move to a more plant-based diet rich in nutrients. A
13-member panel made up of national health and nutrition experts prepared the

Around two-thirds of US adults and
one-third of children are either overweight or obese. Margo Wootan, director of
nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington
DC-based consumer group, says that changes in the food climate have made it
increasingly difficult to stay healthy.

“For Americans today, healthy eating
is like swimming upstream. It’s not that you can’t do it, it’s just it’s so
hard,” she says. “Without changing the food environment, people don’t
stand a chance of following the advice in the dietary guidelines.”

Of course, for many obesity is a lifestyle
choice. New Jersey Donna Simpson (pictured), who now tips the scales at 600
pounds (273 kg), hopes to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records by
reaching 1000 pounds (450 kg). She makes money by videoing herself eating. ~ USA Today,
Jun 16

Jared Yee
public health