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A weight plateau that’s good news: CDC studies say American obesity crisis may be leveling off

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None of us feels good about the fact that the United States is in a weight crisis; at least a third of Americans are obese. But there may be hope, according to two studies by the CDC: The numbers have stopped rising.

Research released in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association showed no significant change in the Body Mass Index (BMI) numbers of American adults during the years from 2000-2008. (Earlier studies, which covered the years from 1976 to 1980, 1988 to 1994, and again from 1999 to 2000 had always shown an increase.) The BMI, which is a calculation based on a person’s height and weight measurements, generally classifies people with a number from 25 to 29.9 as overweight, and over 30 as obese.

"This was encouraging to see," CDC obesity expert Dr. Bill Dietz told TIME magazine. "The results don't mean we've beaten the epidemic, but they do suggest we've stopped the progression."

From USA Today:

About 34% of U.S. adults — almost 73 million people — were obese (roughly 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight) in 2008, up from 31% in 1999.

"The obesity trend appears to be slowing down, but the prevalence remains high and continues to be a critical national health concern," says Cynthia Ogden, an epidemiologist with the National Center for Health Statistics.

From the Los Angeles Times:

But it's not time to reach for the cookie jar yet. Though abundant messages about eating smaller portions and getting regular exercise may finally be registering, health experts say there's more to be done before the fattening trend is not merely halted but reversed -- more policy changes, community programs and support groups.

Americans are still among the chunkiest folks on the planet, with 68% of adults overweight or obese.

This is not a cause for complacency or celebration," said Dietz, who is director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the CDC, "but it is cause for modest optimism."

More from the TIME story:

“For kids, the signs are even more encouraging, partly because the trend up until now had been flat-out scary, with obesity rates tripling among school-age children since 1980.

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

It's funny how this research concluded that obesity is slowing down, when another recent study (using the same NHANES data) concluded that while "overweight" is plateauing, "obese" shows no sign of slowing down

Link to this research - http://www.healthhabits.ca/2010/01/14/is-america-as-fat-as-it-can-get/

January 14, 2010 - 2:34pm
EmpowHER Guest

The solution to the public health problem of obesity is not focus groups or community support centers. The solution is to stop thinking of obesity - in actuality a series of poor choices - as a disease akin to cancer or AIDS. Instruction in basic nutrition must be implemented in elementary schools across the country to ensure the next generation can make more informed choices than their parents did.

Christopher Carr
The Inductive

January 14, 2010 - 8:08am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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