Is the obesity epidemic getting even worse?

Is the obesity epidemic getting even worse?

The obesity problem in America is not going away anytime soon, according to a new health report that found that 36 million men and almost 29 million women in the U.S. are overweight and 32 million men and 36 million women are considered obese.

“Obesity is not getting better. It’s getting worse, and it’s really scary. It’s not looking pretty,” said Lin Yang, PhD, study leader. “This generation of Americans is the first that will have a shorter life expectancy than the previous generation.”

Researchers found that less than one-third of Americans over the age of 25 are at a healthy weight, according to data gathered from 2007 to 2012 by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Overweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 29.9, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. BMI is calculated by comparing a person’s weight to their height. For example, a 5-foot-9 man who weighs 169 pounds and a 5-foot-4 woman who weighs 146 pounds both would have a BMI of 25. According to the National Institutes of Health, both the man and woman would be obese.

However, health experts note flaws in the study due to its over dependence on BMI.

Obesity in my eyes is not the one factor destroying our lives, it’s lack of exercise,” says Brandon Nemeth, fitness specialist at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. “This report focuses heavily on BMI and not everyone with a BMI out of range is indeed obese. For example most athletes can have BMI’s that are out of the recommended zone but would be considered in the healthy zone simply doing a body fat percentage test.”

Nemeth said the focus should be simple: stay as active as possible.

“Exercise needs to be a top focus, and most of the time gets pushed to the side,” says Nemeth. “It isn’t about getting everyone running marathons, or setting aside the time and money they don’t have to go to the gym every day. A positive short-term goal can mean adding 10-minute blocks of walking instead of sitting in front of the TV. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or park farther away at the grocery.”

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  1. Rosemary Mueller, MPH, RD, LDN June 29, 2015 at 11:26 am · Reply

    Obesity is certainly a disease based on a multiplicity of factors, and I agree with Brandon that for many people, exercise is seriously lacking. In addition, many people simply do not eat properly, nor do they have an awareness of how many calories they need and how many they actually eat. At Advocate Weight Management, it is our mission to help with permanent weight management through a multidisciplinary program. For more information, interested individuals can call 847 990-5770.

  2. You can thank the computer/internet for this increasing problem.

  3. It’s a great point that many people don’t realize that we just don’t know how much caloric energy we are taking in and how much we are really spending. Millions of years of cumulative adaptations have given rise to the human form being very good at storing energy and spending it conservatively. We might have a good day of working out, ate the correct food and then at the very end of the day said “what the hell i earned myself a pop.” Problem is that pop is dissolved sugar at around 200 Cal. which will be utilized by our body more readily than energy utilized from the breakdown of fat. That last can means another 30 to 60 mins of running which we all know we are not going to do the next day!

  4. Ok which is it. Between 25-29.9 BMI is overweight from Centers for Disease Control?
    OR 25 BMI is obese? National Institutes of Health?

    Very confusing. The experts can’t even get it right. How can people understand?

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.