As a nation, the United States has made significant progress in improving overall health and lowering overall death rates. Thousands of premature deaths have been prevented each year by controlling major risk factors for heart disease, cancer, and COPD such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. However, for obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, the rates of decline in mortality have slowed in recent years. This illustrates the serious health risks that continue to be posed by the obesity epidemic in the United States. As the US population continues to age, continued efforts to control obesity, blood pressure, cholesterol, and smoking in both children and adults will be crucial.