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Advanced Studies in Medicine, 2002;2(2):40-49.

Managing obesity in America: An overview.

George L. Blackburn.

Director, Center for the Study of Nutrition and Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215.

Abstract: Approximately 60% of the population in the United States is overweight or obese; the prevalence of this condition has risen sharply in recent years and continues to rise. An increase in weight-related comorbid conditions, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, breast and colon cancer, and osteoarthritis, as well as an increase in health care costs, has accompanied the increase in America's weight gain. The considerable degree of morbidity and mortality and the increasing recognition of the physiologic factors that regulate appetite have prompted the development and application of a medical model to treat obesity as a disease while considering the closely linked emotional issues and behavioral patterns frequently seen in obese persons. A number of treatment modalities are available, including weight-loss groups, prescribed food plans, meal-replacement plans, other special diets, exercise programs and equipment, and 2 relatively new pharmacologic agents.
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