COMMENTARY

'Remarkably Distressing': 35% of US Population Obese

Maurie Markman, MD

Disclosures

December 20, 2018

Hello. I'm Dr Maurie Markman from Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia. I will briefly discuss a summary of a new report, "The State of Obesity 2018: Better Policies for a Healthier America."[1]

This report identifies the sobering fact that obesity is becoming an increasingly serious problem in America. The relationship between obesity and cancer development is very well established. This report demonstrated that six states had a statistically significant increase in the incidence of obesity, with no states showing a decrease in the incidence of obesity over the past year.

In addition, seven states today have more than 35% of their population having obesity. Let me say that again: In seven states, one third of the population is classified as obese. This is really remarkably distressing information, recognizing that, in fact, as recently as 10 years ago, only two states had more than 30% of the population classified as obese. In 1985, no state had an adult obesity rate greater than 15%. Let me say that again: As recently as 1985, not a single state had more than a 15% obesity rate in adults.

Clearly, this is an extremely serious issue. Obviously, nothing can decrease the emphasis that we need to put on smoking cessation. But there is no question that, as a society, we simply have to come up with a way to deal with the issue of obesity. Numerous cancers have been shown very clearly to be related to obesity, and without controlling obesity, we are certain to see, without question, increased incidence of these cancers.

This remains a major societal issue and a major public health issue in the United States. One can hope that among public policymakers, members of society, government, and obviously the physician community, we can begin to tackle this increasingly serious problem.

I thank you for your attention and I encourage you to not only read information about the growing incidence of obesity, but also join in the effort to try to figure out a way to reduce this serious problem in our society. Again, thank you for your attention.

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