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40% of Americans are overweight


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About 4 in 10 American adults are obese, and nearly 1 in 10 is severely so, government researchers said Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention findings come from a 2017-18 health survey that measures height and weight. More than 5,000 U.S. adults took part.

The survey found that the obesity rate was 42% — higher than the 40% found in a similar 2015-16 study. The severe obesity rate was more than 9% in the new survey, up from the 8% figure in the previous one.

Those increases aren’t considered statistically significant: The survey numbers are small enough that there’s a mathematical chance the rates didn’t truly rise.

But it’s clear that adult obesity rates are trending up, said the CDC’s Cynthia Ogden, one of the report’s authors.

A half-century ago, about 1 in 100 American adults were severely obese. Now it’s 10 times more common.

The obesity rate has risen about 40% in the last two decades. 

The findings suggest that more Americans will get diabetes, heart disease and cancer, said Dr. William Dietz, a George Washington University obesity expert.

It also will be increasingly difficult for doctors to care for so many severely obese people, Dietz said. He has estimated that on average, every primary care doctor treating adults has about 100 severely obese patients. 

“How’s a provider going to do that? Severe obesity really requires very intensive therapy,” he said.

The CDC did not report new obesity numbers for kids and teens. That may come out later this year, Ogden said. In 2015-16, 18.5% of kids and teens were obese and just under 6% were severely obese.

Dietz faulted the government for not pushing for more measures to promote physical activity and better eating. Building more sidewalks and passing a national tax on sugary beverages could make a big difference, he said.

Obesity — which means not merely overweight, but seriously overweight — is considered one of the nation’s leading public health problems. 

Full Coverage: Health

It is measured by the body mass index, or BMI, a figure calculated from a person’s weight and height. A BMI of 25 or greater is considered overweight, a BMI of 30 and above is obese, and a BMI of 40 or above is severely obese.

A person who is 5-foot-4, the average height for U.S. women, is considered obese at a weight of 174 pounds and severely obese above 232 pounds. A person who is 5-foot-9, about the average height for men, is deemed obese at 203 pounds and severely obese at 270.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.



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I think it's obviously a VERY complicated issue. For people with adequate resources, there's no real 'excuse'. For people who don't have the resources, there can be countless reasons (not excuses) for obesity. There have been quite a few studies done in the last few years on the declining nutritional value of food available to many Americans, of the lack of physical education available to us, and so on. 

I also think that capitalism plays a significant role.

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As someone that used to have a really bad *** and now has a pretty good ***, it's definitely better to have a good ***. That said, I didn't grow up valuing my body the way I should have, and it's hard to get out of that mindset if you can't work out hard enough and eat well enough to see the change, especially if you live in or frequently occupy an environment that doesn't support the pursuit of physical well-being. And of course our media is about as bad as it gets in terms of brainwashing us to see instant gratification as self-love.

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It's easy for people to make bad choices. When an apple costs more than a candy bar (which is positioned at the point of purchase (last chance!! Eat me!!), it's easy to make go for the low hanging fat bomb instead of the fruit. Besides, when's the last time a parent bribed an out of control brat to STFU with a banana?

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32 minutes ago, WhenFalconsWin said:

Put down the ho ho's and Twinkies or you'll end up fat and stinky...there is no time to sit and hide...or your thighs will be supersized...yakety yak don't talk back

Sing along in The Coaster's style

I can't make an ok boomer joke because most boomers are too young to get that reference.

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On 2/27/2020 at 3:26 PM, JDaveG said:

Yeah, I want to know what qualifies as obese.  Steven Jackson is morbidly obese according to the BMI charts, which is obviously stupid.


That’s the link for BMI calculator in men.  

Obviously muscle mass skews the calculator.  At the same time, there are plenty of people within the normal range of BMI that are extremely unhealthy.  No single indicator will ever capture the whole story, but there’s enough evidence out there to definitively say elevated BMI puts people at risk for serious health problems.  

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We need to go back to portion sizes before 1975. Back when today's small-sized soda used to be considered large and when you had to pay for a refill. The Big Gulp used to be only 32 oz. Americans have to reset our minds on what appropriate portions are.

In addition to that, make fast food, real food again. Everything is over-processed, even the kids' school lunches. Most schools have minimal cook staff in order to cut costs and most of the time they are opening bags and rarely cook anything. I say bring back the bevy of old lunch ladies and have them make real food from scratch like they used to.

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