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Report: Obesity may be hitting a plateau

The rate is holding steady near 34 percent.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published November 29, 2007


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ATLANTA - Obesity rates in U.S. women seem to be staying level, and the rate in men may be hitting a plateau now, too, according to a new government report released Wednesday.

With more than 72-million Americans counted as obese, adult obesity rates for both sexes seem to be holding steady at about 34 percent, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

The rates are still too high, said Mark Swanson, a researcher who studies childhood obesity and school nutrition at the University of Kentucky's College of Public Health.

"Until the numbers start to go the other direction, I don't think we can consider this a success at all," he said.

The adult obesity rate has generally been climbing since 1980, when it was 15 percent. The entire adult population has grown heavier, and the heaviest have become much heavier in the last 25 years. Obesity is major risk factor for heart disease, certain types of cancer and Type 2 diabetes.

Obesity is defined as having a body mass index - a ratio of weight and height - of 30 or more. A woman who is 5 feet tall would be considered obese if she weighed at least 153 pounds. A 6-foot-tall man would be obese if his weight topped 221 pounds.

The report also found that about a third of obese adults had not been told by a doctor or health care provider that they were overweight. That statistic has held about steady from earlier years, said Cynthia Ogden, a co-author of the report.

The obesity rate for women has been about steady since 1999-2000, about 33 percent. But the male rate trended up, from 27.5 percent in 1999-2000.

Last week, the CDC released results of a national telephone survey that found that about half of men and women reported getting regular physical activity in 2005, an increase from the rates reported in 2001.

Information from the Los Angeles Times was used in this report.

[Last modified November 29, 2007, 02:22:39]


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