Two new reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found that 40 percent of American women and 17 percent of teenagers are obese. As for the entire U.S. adult population, 38 percent are obese.
The new findings suggest that the current initiatives set to encourage Americans to shed a few pounds or at least manage their weight have little effect.
Individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 are considered overweight. The ones with a BMI of 30 or above are considered obese. Obesity comes with higher risks for developing several diseases such as diabetes, cancers, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease.
Obesity Among U.S. Adults
In the first report, research teams from the National Center for Health Statistics at CDC analyzed the data of over 5,400 American adults who participated in a national survey. From 2013 to 2014, they found a 35 percent and 40.4 percent age-adjusted obesity occurrence among the male and female participants, respectively.
They also found that over 5 percent of men and almost 10 percent of women had a BMI of 40 or above, which made them "morbidly obese." These people had much higher risks of developing obesity-related health conditions.
In the first study, the research teams did not measure body fat, but only BMI. However, they noted that majority of obese American adults have too much body fat.
They also found that male smokers were thinner. As for the female smokers, they didn't find any major differences based on their smoking status. Interestingly, they discovered that the female participants who went to college were less likely to become obese.
The first report's findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on June 7.
Obesity Among U.S. Teens
Apart from the 17 percent of children and teenagers who are obese, the second report found that 5.8 percent of them were "extremely obese" between years 2011 and 2014.
Obesity in children is measured by comparing their weight to children with the same height and age. Children are considered obese if they weigh 95 percent more than the other kids with the same age.
The second study's representatives were children and teenagers between the ages of 2 and 19 years old. The report found that while obesity in younger children waned, teenagers still packed on excess weight.
The second report was also published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Treating The Obesity Crisis
In an accompanying editorial, JAMA editors Howard Bauchner and Jody Zylke said that a lot of attention and research have been focused into treating the obesity epidemic through procedures and medications. However, the editors said that these won't solve the obesity crisis.
"The emphasis has to be on prevention, despite evidence that school- and community-based prevention programs and education campaigns by local governments and professional societies have not been highly successful," Zylke and Bauchner wrote.
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