Coming to Terms with the Obesity Crisis (Adults)

In 40 years, the U.S. population has gone from 40% overweight to 68% overweight. Half of American adults are dangerously obese, leading to many chronic conditions and deadly (and expensive) diseases.

Scientists and doctors generally agree the obesity epidemic is behavioral in nature (not the result of a pathogen).

The key drivers are our choices of food and activity, but multiple additional factors also play a role — from family dynamics to cultural roots, stress, economics, lifestyle and many more. Unlike smoking or drinking, eating is not optional. How can Americans move to healthier lifestyles — or, if we can’t change these trends, how can the healthcare system cope with the results?

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Thought Leaders For This Challenge

Christine Ferguson, JD

Strategic Initiatives Advisor, STOP Obesity Alliance; Professor, The GWU School of Public Health and Health Services

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Rebecca Puhl, MD


Daniel Callahan


Scott Kahan, MD


James Zervios

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Dan Callahan, PhD

Senior Research Scholar and President Emeritus, Hastings Center


Maya Rockeymoore, MD


Jessica Mark


John M. Auerbach, MBA

Director of the Institute on Urban Health Research and Distinguished Professor of Practice at the Bouve College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University