A look at the latest on the financial burdens of obesity, junk-food marketing to children, soda bans, and more
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 percent in medical expenses. Between 22 percent (Virginia) and 55 percent (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.
This post also appears on Food Politics.