"Obesogenic" America: Nine States Now Over 30 Per Cent Obese, CDC

Aug 4th, 2010 | By healthnews | Category: Health

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Main Category: Obesity / Weight Loss / Fitness
Also Included In: Public Health;  Nutrition / Diet
Article Date: 04 Aug 2010 – 11:00 PDT

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American society has become “obesogenic” according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): their
latest report shows that nine states now report more than 30 per cent of adults are obese, yet it was only ten years ago that no
state had a 30 per cent or more rate of obesity in its adult population.

On its Obesity webpage, the CDC describes American society as “obesogenic”, where people live in environments that promote
over-eating, unhealthy food, and physical inactivity.

The latest evidence appears to reinforce this: in just one year, since 2009, the number of states with an obesity prevalence of 30
per cent or more has tripled to nine, according to the CDC’s second MMWR “Vital Signs” report, released on Tuesday.

Moreover, not one state has met the Healthy People 2010 national goal of 15 per cent adult obesity prevalence, and only two, the
state of Colorado and the District of Columbia report an obesity prevalence under 20 per cent (18. and 19.7 per cent

CDC Director Dr Thomas Frieden told the press that obesity is still a major public health concern in the US, and if we don’t
continue to address this with intensive and comprehensive efforts, we will see more and more people getting sick and dying from obesity-related causes “such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of

The CDC report shows that based on self-report data, an additional 2.4 million adult Americans (aged 18 and over) entered the
obese category between 2007 and 2009, representing a rise of 1.1 per cent.

Obesity-related medical costs are also high, says the report, estimating the total cost in 2008 at 147 billion US dollars, with obese
people costing an extra 1,429 dollars each to treat compared to people of normal weight.

The report bases its findings on new figures from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). This system yields
state-level public health data and gives states a way to monitor their progress toward the national Healthy People goals.

The system gets it data from telephone surveys: about 400,000 people are surveyed for the obesity data. They are asked to give
their height and weight over the phone. From this the survey calculates their BMI (Body Mass Index, the weight in kilos divided by the
square of the height in metres).

A BMI of 30 and over counts as obese: and this would include for instance a woman 5 foot 4 inches tall (1.63 m) weighing 174
pounds (79 kilos) or more, or a man 5 ft 10 ins tall (1.78 m) weighing 209 pounds or more (95 kilos).

But the CDC reckons that the BRFSS obesity estimates are under-representative: true obesity prevalence is higher than their
figures suggest because research shows that in telephone surveys, men and women often say they are taller and weigh less than
they really do.

Dr William Dietz, director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, says that is why estimates
based on the the BRFSS data suggest an overall national level of 26.7 per cent, which is 7.2 lower than the 2007-2008 estimate of
33.9 per cent (nearly 73 million Americans) that is based on NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) data,
where people’s height and weight are actually measured rather than self-reported.

Using the BRFSS data CDC researchers also reported how obesity rates vary among different parts of the American population,
for example:

  • Non-Hispanic blacks had the highest overall obesity rate at 36.8 per cent.
  • Among non-Hispanic black women, the obesity rate was even higher at 41.9 per cent.
  • Among Hispanics the obesity rate was 30.7 per cent.
  • Among non-high school graduates the rate was 32.9 per cent.
  • The Southern states had an obesity prevalence of 28.4 per cent.
  • In the Midwest, the obesity rate was 28.2 per cent.

Dietz said that obesity is a complex issue that requires action at both the personal and the community level.

“People in all communities should be able to make healthy choices, but in order to make those choices there must be healthy
choices to make,” he said, explaining that to address the issue we have to change communities so that people are surrounded by
environments where the easiest path is to eat healthy food and be active.

The CDC also refers to two recent reports: The Surgeon General’s Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation 2010, and the 2010 report
from the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, both of which highlight a cluster of three actions to tackle the obesity
crisis, with a need to address:

  1. Both diet and exercise,
  2. Work across multiple settings (eg medical, workplace, community) and multiple sectors (eg industry and government), and
  3. Change individual behaviors in tandem with the environments and policies that influence them.

In support of this last point, there is evidence from research that encouraging physical activity (for example through increased
access and improved community design), and healthy eating (eg improved access to supermarkets offering healthy foods, fruits
and vegetables), are linked to real increases in physical activity and dietary improvements.

“State-Specific Obesity Prevalence Among Adults – United States, 2009.”
CDC: Morbidity
and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)
, August 3, 2010 / 59 (Early Release); 1-5.

Source: CDC.

Written by: Catharine Paddock, PhD

Copyright: Medical News Today

Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today

Wait a sec! people considered obese today who weren’t in the past

posted by Wendy on 4 Aug 2010 at 12:06 pm

What this article fails to mention is that the weight standards have changed and that’s why 10 years ago no state had a 30% obesity rate!! 10 years ago people who weren’t considered to be obese, now are! Seriously, many of you, sitting here reading this right now, have no idea that you are, by government standards, obese, look it up! You’ll be surprised!

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A Solution

posted by Xira Arien on 4 Aug 2010 at 12:24 pm

Provide government-funded free gyms to the population. If we can’t have parks and stuff, provide free gyms. Also I think part of it is the hormones corporate America is allowed to pollute the environment with.

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When are they going to change the formula

posted by Ray on 4 Aug 2010 at 12:29 pm

I am still considered highly overweight. I was obese until I lost some pounds. Does it matter that I have 10% body fat, no. Does it matter that I don’t have any health issues (besides sore muscles), no.

I think these reports should do an obesity study on just the military. I would think that there obesity rate is about 40%, even though we know they aren’t sedentary.

The government needs to change this century old formula for the 21st century. Science figured out that Pluto wasn’t a planet, now they need to figure out a new formula.

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Obesity Rise and HFCS Use

posted by Chuckl on 4 Aug 2010 at 12:45 pm

I’d take a serious look at the rampant use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in almost all food products (not just soft drinks.) Since it’s introduction into the U.S. in the 1970′s, the average “size” of Americans has increased steadily. This corresponds to an increase in the Japanese population after they introduced it to their food supplies. The human brain and liver don’t recognize HFCS, so it’s metabolized the same as alcohol, only without the “disorienting component” and the liver stores it as fat.

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Not buying “other factors”

posted by Matt on 4 Aug 2010 at 12:47 pm

It is a very simple equation. If you consume more calories than you burn then you will become overweight. You can be extremely active and still gain weight if you make poor eating decisions.
It’s not a mystery- eat right and exercise and you will be healthy. Genetics and hormones be damned.

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A Nation of Excess

posted by Mike on 4 Aug 2010 at 12:48 pm

Too much food, too much soda, too many cars, too much commuting, too much time spent watching TV or playing video games, too many meals eaten outside the home, too many people who earn a living sitting down, too much instant gratification, too much stress, too much complexity, too much insomnia, too much fear, greed and desperation. Too much of everything equals chronic disease and an early death. Education, better health care or diet pills can’t reverse this trend. What’s required is a dramatic reduction in our standard of living, like another Great Depression.

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Ban growth hormones

posted by Katrina Groom on 4 Aug 2010 at 12:58 pm

I agree with the first opinion. We’ve seen how they feed growth hormones to chickens and cows to make them fatter why is the light bulb not clicking on that this may be making us fatter as well.

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Absolutely Rediculous

posted by Jacob on 4 Aug 2010 at 1:00 pm

I am a 25 year old male who is 245 pounds and I am 6′ 1″. I can run 3 miles in less than 25 minutes, and I regularly run or do other activities. I probably average at least 2 hours of strenuous activity a day. I do sometimes eat unhealthy, but I generally balance that with extremely healthy meals as well.

According to their system, I am a 32.3. This means that I am Obese by a 2.3% margin. According to their system, I have to lose 56 pounds to be considered the very top of “Normal” weight. You can’t tell me that I’m obese. I could POSSIBLY see them saying overweight, but not obese…

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Eating the Right Foods

posted by JumpingFish on 4 Aug 2010 at 1:02 pm

One can choose foods that do not contain hormones. Like grass fed etc… or fish…

One can choose organic foods….

One can choose anti-inflammatory foods…

One can choose not to eat foods that have a poor omega 3 to 6 ratio…

One can choose foods that do not contain High Fructose Corn Syrup…

Of course I also think there should be a class action against those companies that mass produce that crap…

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