Study: More than 30% of U.S. adults are obese as rates stabilize

NEW YORK First, the bad news: According to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one-third of U.S. adults are obese. Now, the good news: It appears they’re not getting any fatter.

That’s according to findings by CDC researchers published online and in the Jan. 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that while obesity rates among American adults increased by about 8% between 1976 and 1994, with further increases from 1999 to 2000, rates appear to have stabilized.

“For women, the prevalence of obesity showed no statistically significant changes over the 10-year period from 1999 through 2008,” the authors wrote. “For men, there was a significant linear trend over the same period, but estimates for the period 2003-2004, 2005-2006, and 2007-2008 did not differ significantly from each other. These data suggest that the increases in the prevalence of obesity previously observed between 1976-1980 and 1988-1994 and between 1988-1994 and 1999-2000 may not be continuing at a similar level over the period 1999-2008, particularly for women but possibly for men.”

A related CDC study, also appearing in the Jan. 20 issue of JAMA, showed that the prevalence of high body mass index among children and teenagers has remained steady. Researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2007 and 2008 to determine the most recent estimates of high-BMI prevalence among children and adolescents ages 2 through 19 years, also examining overweight prevalence trends from between 1999 and 2008. They found that while about 10% of infants and toddlers and 18% of adolescents and teenagers have high body mass indexes, those rates have remained relatively steady over the last decade, with exception to an increase among 6- to 19-year-old males at the very heaviest weight levels.

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