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The Los Angeles Times reports that despite all the publicity and notoriety given these days to the issue of American obesity, there remains much debate within the medical community about its causes and effects.

U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona told an obesity conference this week that obesity is the fastest-growing cause of disease and death in the country, with two out of every three Americans overweight or obese — a 50 percent increase over the last decade — and obesity-linked health costs totaling $117 billion in 2000.

But there's another theory - that so-called "yo-yo dieting," inactivity and diet drugs actually could be the main causes of diseases usually associated with obesity, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Glenn Gaesser, an associate professor at the University of Virginia, told the same conference that exercise and healthy eating habits had been conclusively shown to improve health even without weight loss.

"The jury is still out on the cause of obesity, with consumer advocates arguing that aggressive food industry advertising and portion "super-sizing" at fast-food restaurants are to blame," the LAT writes. "Others highlight the roles of genes and sedentary lifestyles."
KC's View:
All of which will serve to confuse the consumer even more.

It's tough being a consumer in the current environment. And we've certainly felt that pain over the last couple of weeks as we've been on the Atkins Diet; it is so completely counter-intuitive to eat bacon but not bananas when trying to lose weight, and yet it seems to work.

We're just counting on the Lipitor chaser to keep our cholesterol in check…