Harvard Prof. Walter Willett says Americans are getting fat because they’re eating more, consuming about 300 calories a day more today than they did 30 years ago. About half of that comes from soda, fruit juice, and other sugary drinks.
“We are in the midst of an obesity epidemic. At this time about two-thirds of the adults are either overweight or obese,” Willett says. “This is critical; the house is on fire, because we know there are huge adverse health consequences of overweight and obesity.”
The negative health effects of obesity are well known, with links to diabetes, heart attack, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, liver disease, and osteoarthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A study by HSPH researchers showed that women who drank more than two servings of sweetened beverages a day had an almost 40 percent higher risk of heart disease than women who rarely drank them. The obesity epidemic, Willett said, is undoing the gains in health and life expectancy made over recent decades.