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Death toll & obesity

Approximately 129.6 million Americans, or 64 per cent, are overweight or obese, a physical condition shown to increase the risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer, but parallel to this rise is the growing interest in functional foods formulated by the food industry.

Deaths due to poor diet and lack of exercise have risen by more than a third in the last ten years, suggesting that obesity could soon overtake tobacco as the leading preventable cause of death. In 2000, 400,000 deaths were related to eating badly and physical inactivity, slightly under the 435,000 figure linked to tobacco, finds the new study released by the government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The leading causes of death in 2000 were tobacco (435,000 deaths; 18.1% of total US deaths), poor diet and physical inactivity (400,000 deaths; 16.6%), and alcohol consumption (85,000 deaths; 3.5%). Other actual causes of death were microbial agents (75,000), toxic agents (55,000), motor vehicle crashes (43,000), incidents involving firearms (29,000), sexual behaviors (20,000), and illicit use of drugs (17,000).

"Americans need to understand that overweight and obesity are literally killing us," said Health Secretary Tommy G. Thompson yesterday unveiling a new government drive to stem the rising tide.

[This government release supports the concepts outlined in my new book, Lose Weight with the California Calcium Countdown. The book describes why diets have failed, and offers a simple solution that does not involve severe lifestyle change. Major lifestyle change, as we all know, has not worked in the past, and is unlikely to work in the near future.]

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Study: “Actual Causes of Death in the United States, 2000”; Lose Weight with the California Calcium Countdown, Betty Kamen.

Nutrition Hints
from Betty Kamen, PhD, and Dr. Michael Rosenbaum, MD
Copyright © 2002 by Nutrition Encounter, all rights reserved
May be redistributed only with full attribution
and a link to

Please note: The information contained here is for educational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose, treat, or prevent any illnesses. We recommend that you contact a health care practitioner if you have any immediate health care concerns.


Site last updated 9/12/16

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