Sometime in the Middle Ages, somewhere in Europe, someone concocted a dreamland overflowing with food and drink, which even those who refuse to work could consume without limit. With its profusion and variety of food, the United States has transformed this dreamland into reality, but the overflow of delectations exemplifies the traditional warning against having one's dearest hopes realized. Since 1985 obesity has been recognized as a chronic disease and a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and some cancers. The branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention, and treatment of obesity is called bariatrics, and in 1950 specialists in this branch of medicine instituted the American Society of Bariatric Physician. Overweight persons typically try periodically to lose weight, sometimes succeed for a period, and then usually regain the pounds they had laboriously peeled off.