The American Cancer Society puts it bluntly: “We're fat and it's killing us.” Obesity is rising at epidemic rates and, according to a first-ever Surgeon General's report on obesity (issued in 2001), it may soon surpass tobacco as the chief cause of preventable death in the United States. Obesity has been directly linked to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, infertility, and cancer. Each year, obesity costs the nation an estimated $120 billion in medical care and takes some 280,000 lives. Body weight is rising fastest among young Americans—the most dramatic stories feature heart attacks among obese six year-olds.
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