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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2007 Apr 24;49(16):1673-5. Epub 2007 Apr 6.

Attacking obesity: lessons from smoking.

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School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908-0793, USA.


For the first time since the Civil War, American life expectancy is projected to decrease, owing to the diseases associated with obesity such as diabetes, ultimately causing cardiovascular death. In the past 30 years, the prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults has doubled, as has the incidence of type 2 diabetes. Enough data. The Surgeon General should attack obesity the same way as smoking in 1964, with: 1) Advisory Council creation of public statements; 2) warning labels and menu information in all restaurants; 3) legislation for tax incentives for industry to promote worksite health; and 4) consideration of taxation of fatty food; the cigarette tax is now 42%. It is abundantly clear that in short order, obesity will kill more people than smoking. The time has come for the country to get serious about obesity and take lessons from our nation's campaign to reduce smoking. As patient advocates, scientists, and medical professionals, cardiologists should appropriately take the lead.

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