The Big Fat Apple: Obesity spreading

Obesity hit an all-time high in 2009; 1 in 5 city residents is now obese.

The city and the federal government have spent nearly $1 million on campaigns to curb New Yorkers’ appetites — but more city residents are obese than ever.

This Fat Tuesday, more than half of adult New Yorkers are overweight or obese, and almost half of all New York City elementary schoolchildren are not a healthy weight — despite the fact that New York and the feds paid $870,000 on the notorious "Pouring on the Pounds" anti-sugar ad campaign.

“Nationally, it’s a huge problem,” said Columbia University doctor Robert Klitzman. “Obesity causes a range of problems — diabetes, heart disease, and it shortens life span.”

Obesity and diabetes rates are rising much faster in the Big Apple than elsewhere in the U.S., according to the city Department of Health.

Out of all the boroughs, the Bronx has the highest percentage of obesity, with 29 percent of the population heavily overweight, and Manhattan has the least. Yet, 16 percent of the island is still obese.

“Walking to and from the subway is great,” warned Klitzman, “but we need to exercise three times a week.”

Bronx accountant Yanely Chavez, 25, blames New Yorkers’ diets.

“They eat too much fast food,” she said. “Two fat people can fit on the train — or three normal people.”


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