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An Update on the Obesity Epidemic

An Update on the Obesity Epidemic

Overweight and obesity continues to be a considerable healthcare and societal burden despite the fact that it can potentially be averted. “These conditions have been linked to many other chronic health issues, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and arthritis,” says Graham A. Colditz, MD, DrPH. About 20 years ago, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States were estimated using a nationally representative data set from 1988-1994. For a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Dr. Colditz and colleagues used the most recent information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, 2007-2012) to update overweight and obesity data by sex, age, and race/ethnicity and compared the findings with those of the earlier study. Investigators aggregated NHANES data from 2007-2008, 2009-2010, and 2011-2012 datasets and included only adults who were 25 or older. Patients’ BMIs were used to classify patients as underweight (<18.5 kg/m2), normal weight (18.5-24.9 kg/m2), overweight (25.0-29.9 kg/m2), obesity class 1 (30.0-34.9 kg/m2), obesity class 2 (35.0-39.9 kg/m2), and obesity class 3 (≥40 kg/m2).   Significant Increases According to the results, about 40% of men in the U.S. (more than 36 million) are overweight and another 35% (about 32 million) are obese. For women, 30% are overweight (nearly 29 million) while approximately 37% (about 36 million) are obese. “The weight status distribution was similar for both men and women across almost every racial group,” adds Dr. Colditz. “However, when compared with data from 20 years ago, the greatest increase in the proportion of patients in the obesity class 3 category was among non-Hispanic black women.”   Attention Warranted The rising...
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