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The National Institute on Aging has released a new study suggesting that the number of obese Americans has doubled over the past two decades – meaning that childhood obesity isn’t the only weighty problem facing the nation.

The number of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 was 18 percent in 1980, and hit 36 percent by 2002. People of that age who are just plain overweight also increased – from 57 percent in 1980 to 73 percent in 2002.

Despite the increase in older people’s waistlines, they seem to be healthier than ever. In 1900, the average 65-year-old was expected to live to 77; a century later, that same 65 year-old was expected to the early eighties. The average 85 year old in 1900 was expected to live four more years, while a century later was expected to live six or seven more years.
KC's View:
(Apologies to Dean Wormer for the paraphrased headline…)

What strikes us about this study is that in more than 100 years, with all the medical advances and technological changes that have taken place, all that has been achieved is an extra four of five years at the end. Can’t we do better than that? If you’d asked us before we read the story, we would have guess that the average lifespan would have been a dozen years longer, or more.

Of course, when you’re 77, another three or four years probably sounds like a pretty good deal.