Women's March on Washington

Milestones That Defined 2017 in Health and Obesity

This bumpy year is just about done. It started with a dramatic changes in Washington and dramatic expressions of protest about those changes. So today, we’ll take a look at the stories that serve to define the year in health, nutrition, and obesity. These milestones are mere markers on the course of this year. But they give us some ideas about what might lie ahead.

January: Eroded Trust

In January, Edelman reported that trust in government, business, nonprofits, and the media had dropped across the board and around the world. Dietary guidance faced unprecedented credibility challenges in 2017 as a result.

February: Sweeping Changes in the Food Supply

Responding to dissatisfaction with the quality of the processed food supply, the food industry was busy making sweeping changes in 2017. Fat is back and added sugar is out.

March: A New Generation of Obesity Treatment

The year just past was a year of remarkable progress on a new generation of obesity treatment. One of the first fruits of that progress will likely be semaglutide. It was recently approved for type 2 diabetes and is entering large-scale trials for obesity.

April: Diabetes Rising Relentlessly in Kids

A discomforting reminder that childhood obesity is still wreaking havoc with the health of our kids came in April from the New England Journal of Medicine. The dismaying growth in this disease is especially devastating for disadvantaged racial and ethnic groups.

May: Contrasting Views of Obesity

New research we presented at the European Congress on Obesity makes it clear that the public in many countries is coming to view obesity as problem of addictive junk food. Bias against people with obesity is especially strong in some countries, such as the UK.

June: Roxane Gay Living in a World of Weight Bias

In a new memoir, Roxane Gay gave voice to a lifetime of facing the extreme bias that confronts a person living in a large body. Joining her is Gabrielle Deydier and others who are bravely challenging our fat-shaming culture.

July: Fitness Trackers Gone Stale

The sizzle is gone from these high tech gadgets. And yet, personal digital health technology is still moving ahead to bring better solutions for long-term health outcomes. A work in progress.

August: A Swoon in Sugar

The rhetoric and the facts about sugar consumption went in different directions this year. Added sugars are dropping while dire warnings about them are growing ever more harsh.

September: The Rise of a Vegetarian Personality

Plant-based diets enjoyed a banner year of good press in 2017. Research on the motivations for a “veggie personality” suggests that people are using it to define their personal identities.

October: Obesity Rates Up Again

New data from CDC made it unmistakeable. Happy talk about turning the corner on obesity, even in the youngest children, has been premature. New highs in obesity prevalence  across all age groups should send everyone back to the drawing board for better strategies.

November: Narrow Focus on Prevention Is Failing

New data in the New England Journal of Medicine prompted a stark conclusion: “A narrow focus solely on preventing childhood obesity will not avert potential future health damage that may be induced by the ongoing obesity epidemic.”

December: Primary Care Gap in Understanding Obesity

It’s a darn good thing that so many groups have come together on HCP training standards for obesity. Primary care providers don’t fully understand the role of biology in obesity.

Women’s March on Washington, photograph © Mobilus In Mobili / flickr

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Month 00, 2017

2 Responses to “Milestones That Defined 2017 in Health and Obesity”

  1. December 27, 2017 at 1:17 pm, Allen Browne said:

    It’s been a great year for Conscienhealth.org. Thank you, Ted!

  2. December 27, 2017 at 1:22 pm, Ted said:

    Thanks Allen. It’s been a year of progress in understanding obesity and what we need to learn to make better progress. Still much work to do.