Approximately 40 percent of U.S. adults and about 20 percent of adolescents are obese, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. This is the highest obesity rate ever recorded in the U.S. and is especially troubling due to the number of children and adolescents considered obese, according to an Oct. 13, 2017 NBCNews.com article. Obesity is considered having a body-mass index of over 30 and is linked to such conditions as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

“It’s difficult to be optimistic at this point,” said Frank Hu, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in an Oct. 13, 2017 NBCNews.com article. “The trend of obesity has been steadily increasing in both children and adults despite many public health efforts to improve nutrition and physical activity.”

In addition to consuming unhealthy foods and a sedentary lifestyle, Hu said inadequate sleep also may contribute.

Read the CDC report: Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youth: United States, 2015–2016

Read the NBCNews.com article: America’s Obesity Epidemic Reaches Record High, New Report Says

Learn more

Obesity: Can we stop the epidemic? (Harvard Public Health magazine)

The dangers of excess weight (Harvard Chan School This Week in Health podcast)

Why We Overeat: The Toxic Food Environment and Obesity (The Harvard Chan School Forum)

Excess weight increases risk of premature death (Harvard Chan School news)

Parents helping parents to fight obesity in preschoolers (Harvard Chan School news)

Obesity Prevention Source (Harvard Chan School)

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