Americans are not gaining ground in their efforts to drop extra pounds. But they're not gaining lots of weight, either. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said this week that while more than a third of adults and nearly 17 percent of kids were obese in 2009-10, it's the same number found in 2007.
"It's good that we didn't see increases," CDC researcher Cynthia Ogden said. "On the other hand, we didn't see any decreases in any group."
The data showed 78 million adult Americans and 12.5 million American kids were obese in 2009-10, and the study found no change in prevalence of obesity among adults or children from a similar study in 2007-08 and no difference between the rates for men and women. The report also noted that there was no difference in obesity rates across age groups for men, but in women, those 60 and older were more likely to be obese than younger women.
Boys were more likely to be obese than girls.
The numbers do not count those who are overweight but people who are actually considered obese, based on a calculation called the Body Mass Index. It looks at weight in kilograms (it converts them from pounds) divided by height in meters squared (also converted for Americans), rounded to one decimal space. A healthy weight is from 18-24. A BMI of 25 is overweight, while someone who has a BMI above 30 is obese. That's the group the data brief looked at. Someone who is 5-foot-4 would be considered obese at or above 174 pounds, while someone 5-foot-9 would not be considered obese at less than 203 pounds.
The health consequences of being overweight or obese are well known. Among those listed by the Surgeon General are premature death, heart disease, diabetes, a variety of cancers, breathing problems, arthritis, reproductive issues, incontinence, depression, limited mobility and more. For children, the list includes health complications typically seen in adults, not children, such as type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and, especially painful to adolescents, "social discrimination."
Since 1999, the number of obese men has increased, while the rate for women is relatively flat. The same is true for younger members of the genders, as well.
The CDC report notes that "The Health People 2010 goals of 15 percent obesity among adults and 5 percent obesity among children were not met."
That, despite efforts that range from Gold Medal Miles to exercise and eating tips published on the government's healthy-kid website,Let's Move.
Losing even a small amount of weight, as little as 5 percent for someone who is overweight or obese, can cut the risk of some diseases, including heart disease. It can also lower blood pressure and blood sugar and improve cholesterol. Aching knees and hips can get some relief with very moderate weight loss.
Dr. Elbert Huang, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, told CBS News that even stable obesity rates mean huge increases later in diabetes and its associated cost. That's because, CBS noted, "type-2 diabetes, among many diseases linked with obesity, becomes more prevalent as people age."
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