Obesity in America Getting Worse!

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
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    Obesity in America Continues to Trend Upward

    We used to be slimmer. But our change in body design is not because we are eating more, either. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) noted in 2013, that fat consumption has declined in the United States in the last decades. But still, we are bulging at the hips.


    The USDA also noted a decline in calorie expidenture in 2013. We simply don't burn as many calories as we consume. As a result, obesity rates have increased 214 percent since 1950


    Compare Our Weight from Then and Now

    From 1950 through 1960, 33 percent of U.S. adults were overweight and 9.7 percent were clinically obese. Back then, obesity was a condition and not a disease. Most notably, there were no statistics on severe obesity.    

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    By the year 2000, 30 percent of U.S. adults were obese (compared to 9.7 in the 1960s) with an additional 4.7 percent severely obese. The average American male was eating 500 more calories per day compared to the 1960s. Women were eating 1,950 calories per day compared to 1,500 in the 1960s. Today, one out of every three children is also overweight. 


    American Waistlines are Expanding

    Although body mass index has stabilized, on average our American bellies have grown by an inch over the last decade — to almost 39 inches. Abdominal obesity is defined as a waist circumference of greater than 40.2 inches in men, and 34.6 inches in women. This belly fat puts people at greater risk for heart disease, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and diabetes. 


    Researchers followed 32,816 people over the age of 20 from 1999 to 2011-2012. They found that waist circumference grew from 37.6 inches in 1999-2000 to 38.8 inches in 2011-2012. Speculation as to why this is happening include an aging population that is losing heavy muscle in favor of fat, sleep problems, certain medications, and lack of exercise. Why body mass index (BMI) has not changed despite growing waistlines is not clear.


    Increasing Levels of Obesity in More States

    Obesity is reaching unprecedented highs in more states than ever before. Adult obesity increased in six states and did not fall in any. Twenty states had an obese adult population of at least 30 percent. This is the greatest number of states with obesity at these levels in our history.


    Where are we the most obese? The South has the highest level of obesity at 30.2 percent, followed by the Midwest at 30.1 percent. The Northeast level of obesity is at 26.5 percent, and the West has the lowest at 24.9 percent. But in every state, The 2013 adult obesity rate is greater than 20 percent — 42 states have obesity levels that exceed 25 percent.


    Certain demographics are more prone to obesity, as well. Obesity among African Americans is over 40 percent in 11 states and over 30 percent in 41 states. Over 30 percent of Latinos are obese in 23 states. Caucasians are above 30 percent in only 10 states.


    In addition, more than one-third of U.S. adults earning less than $15,000 per year are obese, while the same can be said for only one quarter of those earning more than $50,000 per year.         


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Published On: November 30, 2014