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Obesity Rates Not Rising, Not Falling

January 20, 2012
Plain English Version

New reports from the federal government show the rise in obesity is leveling off. Five years ago 35 percent of U.S. adults (78 million people) were obese; 33 percent were overweight. The rates did not change in the new report.

Rates for children from birth to 19 also stayed nearly the same. Five years ago 15 percent were overweight and 17 percent were obese.

Experts say efforts to control obesity appear to be working. Putting nutritional information on food packages and some restaurant menus, and changing school food programs are helping.

One researcher said: “A good first step is to stop the increase. The bad news is we still have obesity rates that are astronomical.”

Obesity rates among Hispanic youngsters are at 21 percent; black youngsters are 24 percent and whites 14 percent. Obesity is not going down among any group.

Experts say the best hope for lowering obesity rates is to stop getting fat to begin with. It is difficult for obese adults to permanently lose fat. Children who are already overweight or obese are highly likely to be overweight as adults. Obesity contributes to joint damage as well as diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. One expert said, obesity is an epidemic and a national crisis.

Weight Range BMI Considered
Height 5ft 9 in
124 or less Below 18.5 Underweight
125 lbs to 168 lbs 18.5 to 24.9 Healthy weight
169 lbs to 202 ibs 25.0 to 29.9 Overweight
203 lbs or more 30 or higher Obese

Scientists use Body Mass Index (BMI) as the measure of “fatness.”

The Los Angeles Times



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