Obese Americans outnumber the overweight
Rates of obesity are particularly high among blacks and women, a new analysis shows.
Americans have reached a weighty milestone: Adults who are obese now outnumber those who are merely overweight, according to a report in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
A tally by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis estimated that 67.6 million Americans older than 25 were obese as of 2012, and an additional 65.2 million were overweight.
Their count was based on data collected between 2007 and 2012 as part of the Na- tional Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a continuing study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The data included information on height and weight, which are used to calculate a person’s body mass index. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered normal. Someone with a BMI in the 25- 29.9 range is considered overweight, and a BMI over 30 qualifies a per- son as obese.
Women were much more likely to be obese than overweight, with 37% of women in the former category and 30% in the latter. Altogether, 2 out of every 3 women in the U. S. were above a normal weight.
The proportion of men who were obese was almost as high as women — 35%. But that f igure was lower than the 40% of men who were in the overweight zone. With both groups combined, 3 out of 4 men in the U. S. exceeded a normal weight.
African Americans had the highest rates of obesity among men ( 39%) and women ( 57%). The researchers found that 17% of black women and 7% of black men were extremely obese, meaning their body mass index was over 40.
Among the group labeled Mexican Americans, 38% of men and 43% of women were obese. For whites, 35% of men and 34% of women were obese. No data were reported for Asian Americans, who until recently have been under- sampled in the health and nutrition surveys.
Rates of overweight and obesity were comparable for younger ( ages 25 to 54) and older ( ages 55 and up) adults, according to the study.
Being overweight or obese increases the risk of a variety of chronic health conditions, including Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Extra weight can also make people more vulnerable to certain types of cancer. The more you weigh, the greater the health risk, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.