Food Addiction as a part of the Obesity Epidemic
Obesity has risen at an epidemic rate over the past 20 years so that now, two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight, and 30 percent are obese. Overweight and obese adults have a higher mortality rate. They are at risk for other chronic conditions such as diabetes and certain cancers, including cancers of the breast, colon, kidney and esophagus. An estimated 400,000 adult deaths each year in the U.S. are associated with obesity. Total costs – medical costs and days lost from work because of illness, disability or premature death – from obesity in 2000 were estimated to be $117 billion. (Thompson, 2004)
Most people are now aware of the still growing obesity crisis, but few understand that a large portion of this problem is caused by an underlying addiction to specific foods and sometimes to volume of food in general. Initial scientific estimates, according to Dr, David Kessler, former Commissioner of the U.S. Food And Drug Administration, are that about 50% of the obese, 30% of those overweight, and 20% who are at what we consider a healthy weight, are actually addicted to a specific food, combinations of foods or, in some cases, volume of food in general. (Kessler, 2010) At least half of the obesity crisis would be better understood and more suitably named the food addiction crisis.
This website is designed to be helpful to health professionals, research scientists, journalists, and those who are or might be food addicted. If you are looking for information about food addiction for yourself, go to the section entitled For Food Addicts.
- Define and expand the body of scientific and medical knowledge about food addiction.
- Provide professional and public education about food addiction as a treatable chemical dependency.
- Offer information about promising practices for treatment and supply resources for those who may be food addicted.
- Develop a multilevel training program about food addiction for physicians, dieticians, therapists, and allied health professionals.
- Inform the American Psychiatric Association about the need to add food as a Substance Use Disorder in the DSM-5.
- Create a forum for innovative and effective public health strategies for food addiction in the United States and the world.
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