The Year of Obesity

Lemonick, Michael D.
December 2004
Time;12/27/2004, Vol. 164/165 Issue 26/1, p195
The article discusses the focus of the media on the obesity epidemic in the United States in 2004. Diet books have been selling briskly for decades, and Richard Simmons' fitness infomercials from the '80s seem positively retro. Despite a national obsession with losing weight, however, we have continued to put on pounds. Today one-third of Americans are not just overweight but obese. That's why the issue got more attention in 2004 than ever before from health experts, government agencies and the media--including Time and abc News, which jointly sponsored a conference on obesity in May. Americans flocked to see Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock's documentary about what happens when you eat nothing but McDonald's food for a month. Now McDonald's is discontinuing its Super Size option. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc) announced in March that poor diet and lack of exercise resulted in 400,000 deaths in 2000 and were about to overtake smoking as the No. 1 preventable cause of death in the U.S. After his death in 2003, Dr. Robert Atkins' diet was more popular than ever, as low-carb foods crowded supermarket shelves, much as low-fat foods had a few years earlier. But most experts say it's wrong to focus on one aspect of your food intake: the right fats and the right carbohydrates in the right proportion are part of any sensible diet. The as-yet-unapproved drug Acomplia made headlines as a potential treatment for obesity, smoking and maybe cholesterol and drug addiction as well.


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