Over the past decade, we’ve had a mind-boggling increase in what is fast emerging as the most serious and costly health problem in the U.S.: morbid obesity. About 35 percent or 72 million American adults are obese, and of that number, 7 million adults are morbidly obese, a health condition which substantially raises the risk of mortality (death) and morbidity (chronic disease).
The rate of obesity has increased by almost 25 percent but the rate of morbid obesity has grown even faster: people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 40 increased by 50 percent. Perhaps most alarmingly, people with a BMI over 50—extreme obesity—grew by 75 percent, three times faster than the rate of obesity. Our children are not immune from the epidemic; we’ve seen a 300 percent increase in overweight children. Obesity-conditions are the fastest growing cause of death, and the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.