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Press Release

June 14, 2005  

CDC's National Leadership Role in Addressing Obesity

As part of its Futures Initiative, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established an obesity Trailblazer Team to bring an agency-wide cross-cutting focus to combating the problem of overweight and obesity in the United States. About 15 CDC divisions and programs currently conduct overweight and obesity-related public health activities. The trailblazer effort aims to ensure maximum coordination and synergy among these activities and to define additional unique roles for CDC to play. In particular, activities to address overweight and obesity will capitalize on CDC’s deep experience in population-based prevention efforts with schools and worksites, the communications and marketing fields, and the nation’s public health system.

Obesity in the News: Sorting out the facts.

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association has created much news in recent weeks. Based on the latest health statistics available, the study estimates that obesity is related to about 112,000 deaths each year in the United States. The study also suggests that being overweight (having above-normal weight but not being obese) is not associated with excess deaths.

What does this study mean to you? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers this advice and information to the American public.

Facts at a Glance: The Impact of Obesity, Nutrition, and Physical Activity on Public Health

  1. Obesity remains an important cause of death in the United States, with 75% of excess deaths from obesity occurring in people younger than 70 years.
  2. Scientists continue to work on developing better ways to estimate the number of obesity-related deaths and currently, there is not a method that everyone agrees with.
  3. Scientists do agree that obesity increases the risk of serious chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, and arthritis.
  4. Being overweight as an adult increases blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It increases the chances of getting type 2 diabetes and developing other health problems. Plus, overweight people are at greater risk of becoming obese.
  5. Overweight among children and teenagers has risen dramatically in recent years. Overweight children and teenagers are at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes (though still rare in childhood) and risk factors for heart disease at an earlier age. In one large study, 61 percent of overweight 5- to10-year-olds already had at least one risk factor for heart disease, and 26% had two or more risk factors for the disease. Several decades may pass for the effects of the childhood obesity epidemic to show up as health problems in adults.
  6. Eating better diets and being more physically active are important in achieving and maintaining a normal weight and helping reduce chronic diseases.

Frequently Asked Questions about Calculating Obesity-Related Risk (PDF-30K)

Facts About Obesity in the United States (PDF-18K)

A Snapshot of CDC Resources to Address Obesity, Overweight and the Related Lifestyles Practices of Nutrition and Physical Activity

Nutrition and physical activity

Adolescent and School Health


Steps to a HealthierUS

Diabetes Translation

Adult and Community Health

National Center for Environmental Health

National Center for Health Statistics

In addition, the following Web sites while not a comprehensive list provide additional resources and information:

Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Food and Nutrition Information Center

Health and Human Services Small Steps Campaign

National Institutes of Health Obesity Resources

Food and Drug Administration How to Lose and Manage Weight

Content source: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP)

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This page last updated June 14, 2005

United States Department of Health and Human Services
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