Americans not getting fatter
That's what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say, anyway. Obesity rates have held steady for five years among men and a solid 10 years among women, which is good news. So what's the cause here? Better eating habits? Exercise? Or can we just not get any fatter?
Dr. Ludwig said the plateau might just suggest that “we’ve reached a biological limit” to how obese people could get. When people eat more, he said, at first they gain weight; then a growing share of the calories go “into maintaining and moving around that excess tissue,” he continued, so that “a population doesn’t keep getting heavier and heavier indefinitely.”
Furthermore, Dr. Ludwig said, “it could be that most of the people who are genetically susceptible, or susceptible for psychological or behavioral reasons, have already become obese.”
That leaves us with a third of American adults who are obese, and 17 percent of children. So it's good news in the sense of less bad news. It's a bit like unemployment, actually: Stopping the upward trend is good, but what we really need to do is bring those numbers down. And that would be real good news: The easiest way to control costs in the health-care system would be for people to need less health care. And the easiest way for that to happen would be for people to lower their risk of chronic diseases.
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