WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2012- The number of obese adults and children in the United States remained steady over the past few years. More than one-third of adults and almost 17 percent of youth were obese in 2009-2010, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The study found no change in the prevalence of obesity among adults or children from 2007–2008 to 2009–2010. Between genders, almost 41 million women and more than 37 million men aged 20 and over were obese in 2009–2010. Among children and adolescents aged 2–19, more than 5 million girls and approximately 7 million boys were obese.
“The prevalence of obesity in the United States increased during the last decades of the 20th century,” states the report. “More recently there appears to have been a slowing of the rate of increase or even a leveling off. Given the health risks of obesity and its high prevalence, it is important to continue to track the prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults and children.”
The analyses used the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) conducted from 1999 through 2010. The surveys measured obesity as BMI greater than or equal to 30 in adults and a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to the age- and sex-specific 95th percentiles of the 2000 CDC growth charts in children. For example, a person 5’4” tall would be considered obese if they weighed 174 pounds or more. A person 5’9” would be considered obese if they weighed 203 pounds or more.
The NHANES measurement of 2010 state obesity rates showed Mississippi with the highest rate at 34 percent and Colorado with the lowest rate at 21 percent.
A further breakdown of the analyses showed that more than 35% of U.S. men and women were obese in 2009–2010. There was no significant difference in prevalence between men and women at any age. Overall, adults aged 60 and over were more likely to be obese than younger adults. Among men there was no significant difference in obesity prevalence by age. Among women, however, 42.3% of those aged 60 and over were obese compared with 31.9% of women aged 20–39.
The prevalence of obesity was higher among adolescents than among preschool-aged children. The prevalence of obesity was higher among boys than girls (18.6% of boys and 15.0% of girls were obese).
“There has been no change in obesity prevalence in recent years; however, over the last decade there has been a significant increase in obesity prevalence among men and boys but not among women and girls overall,” concluded the study.
It also pointed out that the Healthy People 2010 goals of 15 percent obesity among adults and five percent obesity among children were not met.
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