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Health trends

Seventy-Five Percent of U.S. Adults to be Overweight by 2015

Thursday, December 13, 2007 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: health trends, overweight, health news

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(NewsTarget) Seventy-five percent of adults and 24 percent of children and adolescents in the United States will be overweight or obese within the next eight years, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Human Nutrition and published in Epidemiologic Reviews.

"Obesity is a public health crisis," lead researcher Dr. Youga Wang concluded.

The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 20 prior studies and four national surveys. They found that the proportion of the population that is overweight or obese has increased by an average of 0.3 to 0.8 percentage points per year since the 1960s. While the obesity percentage was then only 13 percent, it had increased to 32 percent by 2004. The researchers project that it will reach 41 percent by 2015. Among children and adolescents, 16 percent are currently overweight, while 34 percent are at risk.

While 66 percent of all U.S. adults were overweight or obese in 2003-2004, there were marked differences between different demographic groups. Fifty percent of black women over the age of 39 are currently obese, while another 30 percent are overweight. This percentage is unaffected by education, although in all other demographics people with more education have lower rates of obesity.

The prevalence of obesity was lowest among those of Asian descent, but Asians born in the United States are still four times more likely to be obese than those born in other countries.

Obesity rates are increasing fastest among women between the ages of 20 and 34, regardless of ethnicity.

Regionally, residents of states in the Southeast were significantly more likely to be overweight or obese than those residing in the Midwest, Northeast or along the West Coast.

Obesity is significantly correlated with a number of health problems and increased mortality, particularly cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

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