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US obesity rates

Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese

he researchers estimated that around 36.3 million men (39.96%) and 28.9 million women (29.74%) were overweight, with around 31.8 million men (35.04%) and 35.9 million women (36.84%) obese

More than two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese, according to a research letter featured in JAMA Internal Medicine, in the letter, Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity in the United States, 2007-2012, Drs Graham A Colditz and Lin Yang of the Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO, describe their analysis of the most recent data taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, 2007-12). They calculated the prevalence of overweight and obesity. 

In this analysis, overweight was defined as a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9. Obesity was defined as a BMI of 30.0 and above and was divided into three different classes. BMIs of 30.0-34.9 were defined as class 1, BMIs of 35.0-39.9 were class 2 and BMIs of 40 and above were class 3.

"Compared with 1988-1994, the distribution of the population's weight status has increased in the past 20 years," write the authors. "The rising trends in overweight and obesity warrant timely attention from health policy and health care system decision makers."

Data were obtained for 15,208 men and women aged 25 and above in a sample representative of over 188 million adults. The researchers estimated that around 36.3 million men (39.96%) and 28.9 million women (29.74%) were overweight, with around 31.8 million men (35.04%) and 35.9 million women (36.84%) obese.

"Population-based strategies helping to reduce modifiable risk factors such as physical environment interventions, enhancing primary care efforts to prevent and treat obesity, and altering societal norms of behaviour are required," the authors stated. 

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