A burgeoning pandemic of obesity is well characterized. 41% of U.S. adults are projected to be obese by 2015 and obesity, a potentially modifiable risk, is emerging as a leading predictor of lifetime health. The wide spectrum of morbidities related to excess body mass includes risks for diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, dyslipidemia, malignancy, venous thrombosis, degenerative joint disease, pulmonary compromise, sleep apnea, cholelithiasis, depression and overall reduced quality of life. Beyond the myriad major and minor morbidities linked to obesity, increased all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality is recognized in the obese. Bariatric surgery literature suggests that, in the morbidly obese, increase in the lifespan is achievable with reversal of obesity, reinforcing the realization that sequelae therein are by no means inevitable. Aggressive efforts must be targeted towards population-based strategies to educate and sensitize all generations on contributors to and sequelae of excess body mass as obesity represents one of the few modifiable factors that impact on the quantity and quality of lifespan.
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