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5 Ways to Make America Less Fat

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page and our Food Safety Research Center page.

If Benjamin Franklin was writing his famous letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy today, his famous aphorism might read: "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and the obesity crisis." It seems no matter the year or the season, that crisis inexorably continues, with experts now saying 42 percent of Americans will be obese by 2030. And whether you are one of the 42 percent or not, that trend is going to affect you, because it is expected to cost the country roughly half a trillion (yes,  trillion) in additional health care costs.

And yet, as relentless as the obesity crisis appears to be, it's expansion doesn't have to be a foregone conclusion. That's because, unlike a naturally occurring epidemic, it's almost completely human created - a reality which allows for the possibility of a human-directed reversal.

What does such a reversal require in practice? First and foremost, awareness - and thanks to everything from Michelle Obama's fitness campaign to HBO's new documentary "The Weight of a Nation," that prerequisite is finally starting to be met. But then what? As GI Joe said, "knowing is half the battle" - but it's only half. Once more of us are aware of the emergency at hand, what will be the most reliable way to address the problem?

In an instant gratification culture obsessed with extreme makeovers and get-thin-quick diet schemes, it's easy to feel confused about a path forward. But a tranche of new science, data and public policy proposals that cut through the fog of misinformation suggests that path is there - if we're willing to take it. 


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