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May 16, 1990


JAMA. 1990;263(19):2661-2663. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440190117062

The focus of nutrition has shifted substantially over the past few decades. In the past, concern over health hazards focused mainly on the consequences of inadequate intakes of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Today, the possible role of nutrition in the causation of chronic disease, frequently the result of excess nutrient consumption, is receiving the most attention.

Current nutritional issues include obesity; the relationship between diet and the two leading causes of death, coronary heart disease (CHD) and cancer; and the dangers of nutrition misinformation such as that featured recently regarding alleged chemical hazards from food.

According to The Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health, there are 34 million obese adults living in the United States.1

The list of health risks associated with obesity includes CHD, stroke, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, cancer, and complications during pregnancy. In fact, almost all conditions of ill health are worsened by obesity.

Physicians should