October 16, 2017

Nearly 4 in 10 US adults are obese, CDC reports

Daily Briefing

    About 40 percent of U.S. adults and 18.5 percent of U.S. children in 2015-2016 were obese, according to a CDC report released Friday.

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    Report details

    For the report, CDC researchers estimated the prevalence of obesity in the United States based on 2015-2016 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). The researchers analyzed NHANES surveys from 1999 to 2016 to provide overall estimates on obesity rates from 1999-2000 through 2015-2016. CDC for the report defined obesity in adults as individuals with body mass indexes (BMI) of 30 or more. For children, CDC defined obesity as individuals with BMIs "greater than or equal to the age- and sex-specific 95th percentile of" CDC's 2000 growth charts.

    Findings

    CDC researchers found that the obesity rate among U.S. adults increased by 30 percent from 1999-2000 to 2015-2016, rising from 30.5 to 39.8 percent. Meanwhile, the obesity rate among U.S. children increased by 34 percent over that time period, rising from 13.9 percent to 18 percent.

    The researchers said the U.S. obesity rate among U.S. adults and children in 2015-2016 does not represent a statistically significant change from the 2013-2014 rate.

    According to the report, the prevalence of obesity in 2015-2016 was higher among:

    • Middle-aged adults than younger adults; and
    • Youth ages 6 to 11 and adolescents ages 12 to 19 than children ages 2 to 5.

    In terms of racial and ethnic groups, the researchers found the obesity rate among adults for 2015-2016 was:

    • 47 percent among Hispanics;
    • 46.8 percent among non-Hispanic blacks;
    • 37.9 percent among non-Hispanic whites; and
    • 12.7 percent among non-Hispanic Asians.

    The researchers found that obesity rates in 2015-2016 were higher among non-Hispanic black women and Hispanic women—at 54.8 and 50.6 percent, respectively—than their male counterparts. According to the report, the obesity rate among non-Hispanic black men was 36.9 percent in 2015-2016, while the obesity rate among Hispanic men was 43.1 percent. White women and white men had equal obesity rates in 2015-2016, according to the report.

    Comments

    Andrew Stokes, an expert on obesity tracking at Boston University, said the U.S. obesity rate "is quite disappointing." He added, "If we were expecting the trends to budge, this is when they would be budging," because state and national officials in recent years have launched initiatives focused on lowering obesity, particularly among children.

    Patrick Bradshaw, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley, said the rising obesity rates "suggest that we haven't been successful in efforts to reduce or prevent obesity in the population." He added that curbing such obesity rates will require a more aggressive and targeted approach, such as campaigns focused on the challenges different demographics face in managing their weight (Healy, "Science Now," Los Angeles Times, 10/12; AP/Sacramento Bee, 10/13; CDC report, 10/13).

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    As obesity and diabetes rates rise across the country, many hospitals have developed outpatient diabetes centers. Projections estimate that by 2050, one in three Americans will have diabetes. The most progressive hospitals have combined diabetes treatment, education, wound care, ophthalmology, and other services into comprehensive programs.

    In this briefing, we profiled six leading institutions have successfully integrated outpatient diabetes services into their primary care networks.

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