Obesity on the Rise in America Despite Measures to Reduce It

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AmericanObesityAccording to stats from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, obesity numbers in the U.S. continue to rise. Despite a heavy push from health advocates and even first lady Michelle Obama herself, about 38% of American adults were obese in 2013 and 2014, up from 35% in 2011 and 2012.

The figures were somewhat surprising to many health officials, considering America’s dietary habits have been shifting. Consumption of soda is down approximately 25% since the late nineties, along with sugar and calorie intake.

“The trend is very unfortunate and very disappointing,” said Marlon Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. “Everybody was hoping that with the decline in sugar and soda consumption, that we’d start seeing a leveling off of adult obesity.”

As for childhood obesity, it hadn’t changed in 2013 – 2014 since the previous report. Approximately 17% of Americans between the ages of two and 19 were obese, the same percentage from a little more than a decade ago. This despite efforts to alter school lunch programs to include healthier choices.

The obesity rates are even higher among minorities. Close to 60% of black women are obese, higher than any other demographic. Hispanic women and men follow suit, at 46% and 39% respectively. The obesity rate for white women is just over 35% and just under that figure for white men. Only Asians come in well below the national average at 12%.

When comparing the age range of individuals who are most obese, adults between the ages of 40 and 59 ranked the highest at about 40%, while those between the ages of 20 and 39 came in at just over 30%.

Dr. Walter Willett, the chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, believes that income may have played a role in the final results. He suggests that there is a huge gap between the rich and poor.

“When we take the U.S. average, we are hiding a lot of detail,” Dr. Willett concludes.

Source for Today’s Article:
Tavernise, S., “Obesity Rises Despite All Efforts to Fight It, U.S. Health Officials Say,” The New York Times web site, November 12, 2015; http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/12/health/obesity-rises-despite-all-efforts-to-fight-it-us-health-officials-say.html?_r=0