Obese Amer­i­cans out­num­ber the over­weight

Rates of obe­sity are par­tic­u­larly high among blacks and women, a new anal­y­sis shows.

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION - By Karen Ka­plan karen. ka­plan@ latimes. com Twit­ter: @ LATkarenka­plan

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.

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