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October 4, 2000

The Continuing Epidemic of Obesity in the United States

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Executive Deputy EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;284(13):1650-1651. doi:10.1001/jama.284.13.1647

To the Editor: Obesity is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States.1 Each year, an estimated 300,000 US adults die of causes attributable to obesity.2 Obesity also substantially increases morbidity and impairs quality of life.3 Overall, the direct costs of obesity and physical inactivity account for approximately 9.4% of the national health care expenditures in the United States.4 Last year, we reported that the prevalence of obesity (defined as body mass index ≥30 kg/m2) based on self-reported weight and height in US adults increased from 12.0% in 1991 to 17.9% in 1998.5 To determine whether this increase is continuing, we examined 1999 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

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