"The Most Serious Health Problem in the U.S. Today is Obesity," as …

“The most serious health problem in the U.S. today is obesity.”
The all-too-familiar sentence started an article about obesity in America
that would fit right at home right now … except it was actually written
60 years ago.

In 1954, LIFE Magazine featured an article titled “The Plague of
Overweight,” in which they followed the journey of a woman named
Dorothy Bradley who struggled with overeating and body-image issues that
many of us can relate to today.

Ben Cosgrove of LIFE wrote in this blog post:

“Some five million Americans,” LIFE wrote [back in 1954], “medically
considered ‘obese,’ weigh at least 20% more than normal and, as a result,
have a mortality rate one-and-a-half times higher than their neighbors….
Another 20 million Americans are classed by doctors and insurance men
as overweight (10% above normal) and are drastically prone to diabetes,
gallstones, hernia, kidney and bladder impairments and complications
during surgery and pregnancy.”

Today the numbers cited by LIFE have ballooned to even more appalling
proportions: according to the CDC, “more than a third of U.S. adults
(35.7%) and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents
aged 2 – 19 years are obese.”

But perhaps the most astonishing and troubling statistic about obesity
in the USA relates to the speed with which this affliction has taken
hold: for example, in 2010 (again according to the CDC), “there were
12 states with an obesity prevalence of 30%. In 2000, no state had an
obesity prevalence of 30% or more.” Feel free to read that again — and
try to imagine the toll those millions upon millions of extra pounds
will have on the health of those men, women and children, and on the
nation’s economy.

Read the rest over at LIFE: Link