Tipping the Scales

Posted on June 01, 2020

HDFS Faculty and Graduate students study early development

The United States has an obesity epidemic, and the impact is expanding. 

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, approximately 40 percent of American adults are obese. That struggle comes with increased risks for a host of illnesses, and even with a $3 billion diet industry, the price tag of obesity-related medical care weighs in at $147 billion to $210 billion annually.

How do we address this thorny issue that can lead to lifelong health problems, reduced work capacity, and even death? “Evidence shows it’s hard to alter obesity once it exists,” says Human Development and Family Studies Professor Esther Leerkes. So how do we intervene before the scales tip too far?