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The Rich Are Getting Fatter Quicker Than Ever

A popular study I posted a month ago found an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer -- thanks to the ever rising rate of obesity in this country -- could reduce the average lifespan by the middle of this century as much as five years. So, it didn't surprise me much to learn this epidemic had spread to a certain group once considered untouchable: Affluent Americans.

Because the rate of obesity among those making more than $60,000 annually has almost tripled over the past three decades, there's very little difference between all income groups these days. That's big major difference from the 70s when fewer than 10 percent of the rich were obese.

The common denominator, according to one Harvard University expert: All incomes levels are exposed to the same advertising messages, meaning the affluent are just as susceptible to cheap and supersized junk food as anyone else.

By the numbers:

  • The percentage of obese Americans making less than $25,000 has increased to 32.5 percent from 22.5 percent 30 years ago.
  • In the $60,000 and above income level, obesity rates have soared from 9.7 to 26.8 percent.

So how can you ensure you won't become a statistic of the growing obesity epidemic, or a one-time guest on the obituary page far sooner than you'd like to? There's plenty of resources available on my Web site to help you get started. Here's a few suggestions to jump-start that process:

USA Today May 3, 2005

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