Pathways to Prevention Workshop: Methods for Evaluating Natural Experiments in Obesity (Day 1)
Obesity is a major contributor to serious health conditions in children and adults. The prevalence of obesity in the United States and globally has grown rapidly in the last three decades; thus, there is a pressing need to help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is commonly defined as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30. In 2014, more than one-third (37.7%) of U.S. adults (Flegal, 2016 ) and 17% of U.S. children and young adults under the age of 20 (Ogden, 2016 ) met this definition, accounting for about 55% of the total U.S. population. There are also persistent disparities among socioeconomic and racial/ethnic groups in the prevalence of obesity and its health consequences. Obesity and obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancers contribute to increased morbidity and mortality across the lifespan, resulting in a significant public health and economic burden. In 2008, the medical costs in the United States for individuals with obesity were $1,429 higher than for those with normal weight, resulting in an estimated annual medical cost of $147 billion (CDC). Much is already known about obesity, including many of its proximate causes: Poor-quality dietOverconsumption of caloriesLack of physical activityExcessive sedentary time However, because multiple factors (lifestyle, socioeconomics, the environment, etc.) contribute to obesity, it remains an exceedingly complex condition to study. Major gaps exist ...
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