One-Third of US Adults Are Obese, CDC Says

Dennis Thompson, Medical Xpress, October 17, 2013

The adult obesity rate in the United States remains as high as ever, with one in three Americans carrying unhealthy amounts of weight, according to a new federal report.

The obesity rate has remained essentially unchanged for a decade, despite the large amount of attention focused on its threat to public health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

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This persistent rate has proved frustrating to public-health experts, given that obesity is a leading risk factor for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.

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The obesity epidemic continues to gnaw away at America’s economic potential. The U.S. economy loses an estimated $270 billion a year due to health care costs and loss of productivity associated with obesity and overweight, according to a 2011 report produced by the Society of Actuaries.

The CDC report found that nearly 35 percent of American adults are obese, with a body-mass index—a measurement of body fat based on height and weight—greater than 30. That equates to a person 5 feet 4 inches tall who weighs 175 pounds or more, or a person 5 feet 9 inches tall who weights 203 pounds or more.

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The report also included the following U.S. figures:

  • The prevalence of obesity is higher among middle-aged adults (39.5 percent) than among younger (30.3 percent) or older (35.4 percent) adults.
  • Overall, men and women have similar rates of obesity. However, 56.6 percent of black women were obese compared with 37.1 percent of black men.
  • Blacks have the highest obesity rate (47.8 percent), followed by Hispanics (42.5 percent) and whites (32.6 percent). Asians have the lowest obesity rate (10.8 percent).

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