from Journal of Clinical Hypertension
Thomas G. Pickering, MD, DPhil, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
We have heard a lot lately about the epidemic of obesity, and the numbers are certainly scary. The prevalence of obesity has increased markedly in the U.S. and other countries in the past 20 years: in 1978, one quarter of Americans were overweight, as defined by a body mass index (BMI) of 25-30 kg/m2, and in 1990, one third were overweight — a 33% increase. The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 60% are now overweight. Similarly, the prevalence of obesity (defined as a BMI of >30 kg/m2) has increased from 12% in 1991 to 19% in 1999. It has been estimated that 300,000 deaths per year are attributable to obesity, and that it accounts for nearly 10% of national health costs.