U.S. Surgeon General’s vision for a healthy and fit nation

Surgeon General Regina Benjamin today released her Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation
This report follows on from previous warnings beginning in 2001 with Surgeon General David Satcher’s, Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity, followed by Surgeon General Richard Carmona’s testimony given before the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the United States House of Representatives in 2003, where he first described “The Obesity Crisis in America“.
Despite repeated warnings a quick look at the statistics from the latest report suggests that the situation continues to worsen at an alarming rate. 

  • Two-thirds of adults and nearly one in three children are overweight or obese.
  • 70% of American Indian/Alaskan Native adults are overweight or obese.
  • The prevalence of obesity in the U.S. more than doubled (from 15% to 34%) among adults and more than tripled (from 5% to 17%) among children and adolescents from 1980 to 2008.
  • An obese teenager has over a 70% greater risk of becoming an obese adult.
  • Obesity is more common among non-Hispanic black teenagers (29%) than Hispanic teenagers (17.5%) or non-Hispanic white teenagers (14.5%).

Time will tell if the latest report will have what it takes to slow and even reverse the expanding waistlines of American’s, but the strategy outlined by America’s leading doctor to engage the entire community around the promotion of a healthy lifestyle in homes, child care facilities, schools and work sites has to be a step in the right direction.