The endocrinologist David Ludwig calls his patients, the seven-member G family, a microcosm of 21st-century America. One of the parents is overweight and the other is obese, wrote the Harvard Medical School professor and director of the Optimal Weight for Life Clinic. All five of the children are even more severely obese, and although they are still young, they already face the prospect of lives limited by chronic medical problems. One of the youngsters shows the first signs of fatty liver, while another has high blood pressure. Three have marked insulin resistance, the first sign of type-2 diabetes; four have abnormal cholesterol profiles, and two complain of orthopedic problems. The children all express serious emotional distress, stemming from their obesity.
Were the G family unusual, their health problems could be written off as medical curiosities. Unfortunately, families like that of Mr. and Mrs. G and their children are becoming all too common in industrialized nations around the world.
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