Treating Obesity Vital for Public Health

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Obesity brings other health problems

Physicians who once treated mainly elderly patients for health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke are seeing increasingly younger patients who have the same ailments.

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A review in the December issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings focuses on the increasing prevalence of metabolic syndrome, a state characterized by cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and abnormal levels of glucose (sugar) and fats in the blood. Authors Lewis Johnson, M.D., and Ruth Weinstock, M.D., Ph.D., of SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y., say physicians and public institutions must work in tandem to curb the obesity epidemic.

"Unfortunately, as the population becomes less active and more obese, we're seeing a rise in this constellation of risk factors for cardiovascular disease," says Dr. Weinstock, chief of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the university. "That's of great concern because of the increased risk for heart attack, stroke and diabetes, and we're seeing this occur in younger and younger individuals."

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability among adults in the United States. The number of U.S. adults who are overweight or obese increased from 47 percent of the adult population in 1976

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