Obese adults now outnumber adults who are merely overweight, according to study

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(June 23, 2015) – Americans have reached a new milestone – Adults who are obese now outnumber adults who are overweight, according to a new report published by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis studied data from 2007 to 2012 of a nationally representative group of 15,208 people ages 25 or older. By analyzing their data, they reached the conclusion that 67.6 million Americans over the age of 25 were obese as of 2012; additionally 65.2 million Americans were overweight.

Their numbers are very similar to those estimated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which suggest that one third of American adults are obese.

The author of the study Lin Yang writes, “Overweight and obesity are associated with various chronic conditions. These conditions are considerable health care and societal burdens, yet could potentially be averted by preventing weight gain and obesity.”

According to the CDC, people who are obese, compared to those with a normal or healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions, including the following:

  • All-causes of death (mortality)
  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • Some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver)
  • Low quality of life
  • Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders
  • Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning

Yang concludes that in order to fight this obesity epidemic, Americans should prioritize healthy diet, physical activity and healthy social norms.

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