Report finds dramatic increases in US obesity rates; HSPH nutrition expert blames supersized portions, easy access to empty calories

HSPH Prof. Steven Gortmaker spoke to Bloomberg News about a new report on skyrocketing obesity rates in the United States. According to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2011, a report from Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, adult obesity increased in 16 states in the past year. Obesity rates in 17 states have doubled or nearly doubled since 1995, and 12 states had rates above 30 percent. Mississippi had the most obese residents (34 percent), Colorado the fewest (20 percent).

Gortmaker cited supersized portions and an increase in food eaten on the go as contributing factors. “It’s gotten easier and easier to consume lots of foods at more times of the day,” he told Bloomberg. “That’s been the biggest shift in the last 20 years.”  Gortmaker recommended switching from soda and other sugary drinks to water as an easy way to cut calories.

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Public Health Takes Aim at Sugar and Salt (Harvard Public Health Review)

Harvard School of Public Health Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity