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Authors

  1. Coulston, Ann M. MS, RD

Abstract

The dire consequences of obesity are not limited to diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoarthritis, because body fat cell mass increases the risk for fatty liver disease and a reduced total lifespan rises sharply.

 

Medical journals, newspapers, and popular magazines brim with reports about the adverse effects of obesity. Yet the incidence and prevalence of obesity keeps increasing. 1,2). Health warnings about obesity aren't getting through to the public, aren't understood, or are viewed as irrelevant.

 

The best known health consequences of obesity include hypertension, which can lead to stroke; hyperlipidemia or risk for coronary heart disease; hyperinsulinemia (the forerunner of type 2 diabetes); osteoarthritis; and risk for some types of cancer. 3 However, there are other less well known risks of obesity, including reduced lifespan and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and its consequences. Americans are still reluctant to conform their food choices to the Food Guide Pyramid, resulting in their frequent overconsumption of calorie-dense foods and underconsumption of nutrient-rich lower calorie fruits and vegetables. Americans need a "wake-up" call. Perhaps the new bad news that follows will help you to communicate a wake-up call to patients, colleagues, family, and friends.