Last updated on: 4/17/2020 | Author:

Footnotes & Sources

The background and pro and con arguments were written by staff based upon input from the following footnotes (directly referenced) and sources (used for general research and not directly referenced):


1.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Defining Overweight and Obesity,", last updated Dec. 8, 2009
2.Goodard Danai, et al., "The Preventable Causes of Death in the United States: Comparative Risk Assessment of Dietary, Lifestyle, and Metabolic Risk Factors,", Apr. 28, 2009
3.USDA, "What We Eat in America, NHANES 2009-2010,", 2012
4.Prospective Studies Collaboration, "Body-Mass Index and Cause-Specific Mortality in 900,000 Adults: Collaborative Analyses of 57 Prospective Studies," Lancet, Mar. 28, 2009
5.Jeffrey M. Friedman, MD, PhD, "The Real Cause of Obesity," Newsweek, Sep. 10, 2009
6.Albert J. Stunkard, MD, et al., "The Body-Mass Index of Twins Who Have Been Reared Apart," New England Journal of Medicine, May 4, 1990
7.USDA, "How Many Can I Have?," (accessed Apr. 21, 2014)
8.AAFP, "Diagnosis and Management of Obesity,", 2013
9.David B. Allison, PhD, et al., "Obesity as a Disease: A White Paper on Evidence and Arguments Commissioned by the Council of the Obesity Society,", Apr. 2008
10.National Institutes of Health (NIH), "Understanding Adult Obesity,", Nov. 2008
11.World Health Organization, "Obesity and Overweight Fact Sheet No311,", Mar. 2013
12.CDC, "Adult Obesity Facts,", Mar. 28, 2014
13.Cynthia L. Ogden, Margaret D. Carroll, Brian K. Kit, and Katherine M. Flegal, "Prevalence of Childhood and Adult Obesity in the United States, 2011-2012," JAMA, Feb. 26, 2014
14.MayoClinic, "Obesity: Definition,", June 7, 2013
15.Hilary Parker, "A Sweet Problem: Princeton Researchers Find That High-Fructose Corn Syrup Prompts Considerably More Weight Gain,", Mar. 22, 2010
16.S.W. Keith, D.T. Redden, and P.T. Katzmarzyk, et al., "Putative Contributors to the Secular Increase in Obesity: Exploring the Roads Less Traveled," International Journal of Obesity,, June 27, 2006
17.Mayo Clinic, "Obesity: Causes,", June 7, 2013
18.Tara Parker Pope, "Less Active at Work, Americans Have Packed on Pounds,", May 25, 2011
19.American Medical Association House of Delegates, "Recognition of Obesity as a Disease,", June 19, 2013
20.Internal Revenue Service (IRS), 26CFR1.213-1,, 2002
21.National Health Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), "NCHS Data on Obesity,", updated May 2009
22.Eric A. Finkelstein, MD, Justin G. Trogdon, PhD, Joel W. Cohen, PhD, and William Dietz, MD, PhD, "Annual Medical Spending Attributable to Obesity: Payer-And Service-Specific Estimates," Health Affairs, July 27, 2009
23.National Consumers League, "New Obesity Survey: Many Americans Think They're 'Lighter' Than They Are, Most Not Being Told by a Doctor They Need to Lose Weight,", June 19, 2007
24.Gallup, "Public: Lifestyle, Not Disease, Causes Obesity,", Aug. 10, 2004
25.H.R. 3962, "The Affordable Health Care for America Act,", Oct. 29, 2009
26.Rachel Rettner, "Is Obesity a Disease? Doctors Debate,", June 27, 2012
27.Food and Drug Administration (FDA), "Regulations on Statements Made for Dietary Supplements Concerning the Effect of the Product on the Structure or Function of the Body; Final Rule,", Jan. 6, 1999
28.National Institutes of Health (NIH), "Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults,", Sep. 1998
29.World Health Organization (WHO), "Obesity: Preventing and Managing the Global Epidemic,", 2000
30.American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), "Obesity: A Growing & Dangerous Public Health Challenge,", 2008
31.US Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), "CMS Manual System Pub. 100-03 Medicare National Coverage Determinations,", Oct. 1, 2009
32.Gallup, "Mississippians Most Obese, Montanans Least Obese,", Mar. 4, 2014
33."American Medical Association House of Delegates Resolution: 420: Recognition of Obesity as a Disease,", June 19, 2013
34.Robert Thomas, "Dr. Thomas's Opinions on Corpulence," The Medical Advisor and Guide to Health and Long Life, Feb. 12, 1825
35.G.A. Bray, "Obesity Is a Chronic, Relapsing Neurochemical Disease," International Journal of Obesity, 2004
36.Surgeon General, "Overweight and Obesity: Health Consequences,", Nov. 19, 2013
37.Jeffrey Friedman, "Obesity Is Genetic,", Sep. 9, 2009
38.Albert J. Stunkard, Jennifer R. Harris, Nancy L. Pedersen, and Gerald E. McClearn, "The Body-Mass Index of Twins Who Have Been Reared Apart," New England Journal of Medicine, May 24, 1990
39.American Medical Association, "AMA Adopts New Policies on Second Day of Voting at Annual Meeting,", June 18, 2013
40.Laurel Herold, "High BMI Might Mean a Longer Life. Eat Up?,", Jan. 17, 2013
41.Patrick J. Skerrett, "Overweight and Healthy: The Concept of Metabolically Healthy Obesity,", Sep. 24, 2013
42.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Obesity: Halting the Epidemic by Making Health Easier, At a Glance 2011,", May 26, 2011
43.Mayo Clinic, "Obesity: Causes,", June 7, 2013
44.Huffington Post, "The New (Ab)Normal: Portion Sizes Today vs. In the 1950s (Infographic),", May 23, 2012
45.Helen W. Wu and Roland Sturm, "What's on the Menu? A Review of the Energy and Nutritional Content of US Chain Restaurant Menus," Public Health Nutrition, Jan. 2013
46.American College of Gastroenterology, "ACG Obesity Initiative,", 2014
47.American Heart Association, "Treating Obesity as a Disease,", Apr. 14, 2014
48.Harvard School of Public Health, "Obesity Prevention Source: Health Risks," (accessed Jan. 10, 2014)
49.Curt Anderson, "IRS Recognizes Obesity as a Disease,", Apr. 2, 2002
50.FDA, "Questions and Answers - The FDA's Obesity Working Group Report,", June 2, 2013
51.Mary MacVean, "Medical Cost of Childhood Obesity Is $19,000, Researchers Say,", Apr. 7, 2014
52.Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, "The State of Food and Agriculture,", 2013
53.CIA, "The World Factbook: Nauru,", Mar. 27, 2014
54.National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), "Economic Explanations of Increased Obesity," (accessed Apr. 24, 2014)
55.David S. Ludwig and Mark I. Friedman, "Always Hungry? Here's Why,", May 16, 2014
56.Lizzie Parry, "Do YOU Have the Obesity Gene? Scientists Discover Defective DNA Affects Impulse Eating and Food Choices,", May 28, 2014
57.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey: NCHS Factsheet,", Jan. 2016
58.Global BMI Mortality Collaboration, "Body-Mass Index and All-Cause Mortality: Individual-Participant-Data Meta-Analysis of 239 Prospective Studies in Four Continents,", July 13, 2016
59.Sarah Boseley, "Obesity Causes Premature Death, Concluded Study of Studies,", July 13, 2016
60.Susan Scutti, "The Weirder Side of Obesity: Genetic Forms of Obesity Are Rare Yet Numerous,", Mar. 27, 2017
61.Y. Kaur, R.J. de Souza, W.T. Gibson, and D. Meyre, "A Systematic Review of Genetic Syndromes with Obesity," Obesity Reviews, Mar. 27, 2017
62.Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, "The State of Obesity 2018: Better Policies for a Healthier America,", Sep. 2018
63.Andrew Stokes and Samuel H. Preston, "How Smoking Affects the Proportion of Deaths Attributable to Obesity: Assessing the Role of Relative Risks and Weight Distributions," BMJ Open, 2016
64.World Health Organization, "Prevalence of Obesity among Adults, BMI [Greater than or Equal to] 30, Age-Standardized Estimates by Country,", Sep, 22, 2017
65.The State of Obesity, "Obesity Rates among Youth Ages 10 to 17),", Oct. 2018
66.The State of Obesity, "Healthcare Costs of Obesity," (accessed Jan. 3, 2019)
67.Roni Caryn Rabin, "Obesity Linked to Severe Coronavirus Disease, Especially for Younger Patients,", Apr. 16, 2020


BBC News, "Lead Researcher Defends MMR Study,", Feb. 22, 2004
Megan McArdle, "America's Moral Panic Over Obesity," Atlantic, July 29, 2009
Agence France-Presse (AFP), "Obesity a 'Lifestyle Choice' for Americans," ABC News, Jan. 13, 2008
American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), "Obesity and Overweight," (accessed Dec. 17, 2009)
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), "AAP Policy," (accessed Dec. 17, 2009)
American Medical Association (AMA), "Report 4 of the Council on Scientific Affairs (A-05),", June 2005
American Nurses Association (ANA), "ANA Position Statements," (accessed Dec. 17, 2009)
Nicholas Bakalar, "More Americans on the Road to Obesity," New York Times, Aug.10, 2009
BBC News, "Obesity 'Contagious', Experts Say,", July 26, 2007
George Bray, MD, "Drug Treatment of Obesity: Don't Throw the Baby Out with the Bath Water," American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Jan. 1998
Kelly Brownell, PhD, and Marion Nestle, PhD, "America's Obesity Crisis: Are You Responsible for Your Own Weight?," TIME magazine, June 7, 2004
John Cawley, PhD, "Labor Market Impacts of Obesity," Economics of Obesity, May 2004
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "About BMI for Adults,", last updated July 27, 2009
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Obesity: Halting the Epidemic by Making Health Easier,", Feb. 2009
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "U.S. Obesity Trends,", last updated Nov. 20, 2009
Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, and James H. Fowler, PhD, "The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years," New England Journal of Medicine, July 26, 2007
Robert Crosnoe, "Gender, Obesity, and Education," Sociology of Education, July 2007
David M. Cutler, Edward L. Glaeser, and Jesse M. Shapiro, "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, Summer 2003
Adam Drewnowski, PhD, "Obesity and the Food Environment: Dietary Energy Density and Diet Costs," American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Oct. 2004
Lawrence D. Frank, PhD, Martin A. Andresen, MA, and Thomas L. Schmid, PhD, "Obesity Relationships with Community Design, Physical Activity, and Time Spent in Cars," American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Aug. 2004
Jeffrey Friedman, "The Real Cause of Obesity," Newsweek, Sep. 10, 2009
Harris Interactive, "Weight and Obesity in America,", June 19, 2007
Stanley Heshka, PhD, and David B. Allison, PhD, "Is Obesity a Disease?" International Journal of Obesity, Oct. 2001
Gina Kolata, "Study Says Obesity Can Be Contagious," New York Times, July 25, 2007
Marilynn Larkin, "Limits of Willpower" New York Times, Sep. 30, 2007
Medical News Today, "Is Obesity a Disease?", Nov. 10, 2003
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion (NCCD), "Prevalence and Trends Data: Overweight and Obesity (BMI) - 2008,", last reviewed May 15, 2009
National Health Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), "Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity and Extreme Obesity Among Adults: United States, Trends 1976-80 through 2005-2006,", Dec. 2008
Obesity Society, "The Obesity Society Calls Billboard Campaign Offensive and Off-Target,", Aug. 2009
Ian R. Reid, MD, et al., "Determinants of Total Body and Regional Bone Mineral Density in Normal Postmenopausal Women--A Key Role for Fat Mass," Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, July 1992
Rob Stein and Ceci Connolly, "Medicare Changes Policy on Obesity," Washington Post, July 16, 2004
Meg Sullivan, "Obesity Epidemic Overblown, Conclude UCLA Sociologists,", Nov. 15, 2005
Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, "F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009,", July 2009
US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), "HHS Announces Revised Medicare Obesity Coverage Policy,", July 15, 2004
Jane Wardle, PhD, Susan Carnell, PhD, Claire M.A. Haworth, PhD, and Robert Plomin, PhD, "Evidence for a Strong Genetic Influence on Childhood Adiposity Despite the Force of the Obesogenic Environment," American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Feb. 2008
World Health Organization (WHO), "World Health Statistics 2009,", 2009
Lan-Juan Zhao, et al., "Relationship of Obesity with Osteoporosis," Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, May 2007