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No Real Increase In Obesity Among Adults

Armen Hareyan's picture

After aquarter century of increases, obesity prevalence has not measurably increasedin the past few years but levels are still high - at 34 percent of U.S. adultsaged 20 and over, according to a new study released today by the Centers forDisease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report,"Obesity Among Adults in the U.S.: No Significant Change in 2005-06," is thelatest analysis based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey,conducted by CDC′s National Center for Health Statistics.

Obesityrates have increased over the past 25 years. Among men, there was an increasein obesity prevalence between 1999 and 2006. However, there was no significantchange in obesity prevalence between 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 for either men orwomen.

"Since1999, there appears to have been a leveling off in obesity among women, but thetrend is less clear among men. We do know however that the gap between men andwomen has narrowed in recent years, with men catching up to the higher ratesamong women," said Cynthia Ogden, a CDC researcher and lead author of thestudy.

Obesity isdefined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater. BMI is calculated from aperson′s weight and height and provides a reasonable indicator of body fatnessand weight categories that may lead to health problems. Obesity is a major riskfactor for cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes.

The studyfound:

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* More thana third of U.S.adults - over 72 million people -- were obese in 2005-2006. This includes 33.3percent of men and 35.3 percent of women. The figures show no statisticallysignificant change from 2003-04, when 31.1 percent of men were obese and 33.2percent of women were obese.

* Adultsaged 40 to 59 had the highest obesity prevalence compared with other agegroups. Approximately 40 percent of men in this age group were obese, comparedwith 28 percent of men aged 20-39, and 32 percent of men aged 60 and older.Among women, 41 percent of those aged 40-59 were obese compared with 30.5percent of women aged 20-39. Women aged 65 and older had obesity prevalencerates comparable to women in the 20 to 39 age group.

* Therewere large race-ethnic disparities in obesity prevalence among women.Approximately 53 percent of non-Hispanic black women and 51 percent ofMexican-American women aged 40-59 were obese compared to about 39 percent ofnon-Hispanic white women of the same age. Among women 60 and older, 61 percentof non-Hispanic black women were obese compared to 37 percent ofMexican-American women and 32 percent of non-Hispanic white women.

"In view ofthese alarmingly high rates of obesityin all population groups, CDC has made the prevention of obesity one of its toppublic health priorities," said Janet Collins, director of CDC′s NationalCenter for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. "We are activelyworking in partnership with state and local public health agencies, thenation′s schools, community organizations, businesses, medical systems andfaith communities to promote and support healthy eating, physical activity andhealthy weight."