CDC American Obesity Rates

America’s bad reputation for obesity is not getting any better.

The CDC just released the latest obesity data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey — the 2011-2012 year. The survey examines about 5,000 people each year and asks a series of socio-economic and health-related questions and includes a physical exam, giving us a frightening look at just how fat Americans really are.

The CDC defined obesity as individuals having a body mass index greater than or equal to 30. Body mass index is calculated by weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared.

Here are five most worrying facts:

1. Almost 35% of adults in the U.S. are obese.

2. Obesity rates were higher among middle-aged adults (40 to 59-years-old) than younger adults (20 to 39-year-olds) or older adults (60-years-old and over).

3. There was no real difference in obesity rates between men and women — everyone is getting fatter.

You can see the breakdown of obesity rates by age and gender in the chart below:

CDC obesity study


4. Black Americans had the highest obesity rates (about 48%), while Asian Americans had the lowest (about 11%).

You can see the obesity rates among different races in the chart below:



5. Obesity rates are not getting any better.

The CDC found there was no decrease in obesity rate from the 2009-2010 survey to the 2011-2012 survey.

The chart below shows that rates have been steadily getting worse since the 1980s:



Wondering how you fit into these trends? The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has a tool that can calculate your body mass index.

Are We Ignoring The True Cause Of Obesity?

A Label Calls Attention to Obesity

James Steinberg

Personal Health

Personal Health

Jane Brody on health and aging.

Most people know that obesity can result in serious health problems, yet many of us continue to focus on its cosmetic consequences rather than its risks to health.

This distorted view may change now that the American Medical Association has finally labeled obesity a disease, not just a risk factor for other disorders. Last month, the organization recognized that obesity is a verifiable illness that warrants far more attention than physicians, patients and insurers currently give it.

The designation may change how aggressively doctors treat obesity, foster the development of new therapies, and lead to better coverage byinsurers. After all, the price of not treating obesity is now in the stratosphere. Obesity-related health conditions cost the nation more than $150 billion and result in an estimated 300,000 premature deaths each year.

If the population’s weight gain is not soon capped (or better yet, reversed), experts predict that half of adults in America will be obese by 2040. The A.M.A. has said in effect that it is medicine’s responsibility to provide the knowledge and tools needed to curb this runaway epidemic.

On June 19, James Gandolfini, the hefty award-winning actor who portrayed Tony Soprano in “The Sopranos,” died at 51, apparently of a heart attack, while on vacation in Italy. Even if genetics played a role, Mr. Gandolfini’s weight contributed significantly to his risk of sudden cardiac death.

Not a week earlier, a 46-year-old member of my family who weighed over 300 pounds died suddenly of what might have been a heart attack while dozing in front of the television. He had long suffered from sleep apnea (a risk factor for sudden death), high blood pressure and severe gout, all results of his extreme weight.

Fran Saunders, a 62-year-old Brooklynite, is determined to avoid a similar fate. At 4 feet 11 inches tall and 157 pounds, she was clinically obese. She was sent for blood tests when she complained of a vision problem that could have been related to her weight. All her lab readings — total cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar — were seriously abnormal. Her doctor said she was a heart attack waiting to happen. But “the bad news was a blessing in disguise,” she told me.

Though she had long been a regular at the gym, she knew it was time to get her diet on a healthier track to lower her cholesterol, her risk of developing diabetes and her chances of dying prematurely.

She now monitors what she eats and how much she exercises with a free cellphone app, My Fitness Pal. Gradual weight loss started almost overnight at a pound or two a week. Although her goal weight is 110 to 115 pounds, her blood test results improved significantly after she lost just seven pounds.

“My doctor told me that every pound I lose lowers my risk,” said Ms. Saunders. “I know it’s possible for some people to be fit and fat, but that wasn’t the case for me, and it was time to stop kidding myself.”

The list of problems obesity can cause should be a call to action for the one-third of American adults who are obese. Heart Disease and Stroke Obesity can raise levels of artery-damaging triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, and lower levels of protective HDL cholesterol. This raises the risk of atherosclerosis tenfold by fostering a buildup of plaque in arteries that feed the heart and brain. The chest pains of angina occur when the heart cannot get enough oxygen-rich blood through plaque-clogged arteries. A piece of plaque can break off at any time and block a narrowed artery, causing a heart attack or stroke.

Obesity also strains the heart and can lead to heart failure — a heart unable to pump the blood necessary to supply the body with adequate oxygen and nutrients.

High Blood Pressure Excess body fat increases the volume of blood the heart must pump to supply all tissues with nutrients and oxygen. This increases the pressure on artery walls, which contributes to heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.

Type 2 Diabetes Obesity impairs the body’s ability to use insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Diabetes, in turn, is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and blindness. Once a late-in-life disease, Type 2 diabetes now is often seen in overweight children. Even being moderately overweight can lead to insulin resistance, in which the body becomes insensitive to the hormone. The condition can be reversed by weight loss.

Joint Disease The more weight a person carries, the greater the stress on joints and the risk of developing painful, incapacitating osteoarthritis in the knees, hips and lower back. Obesity is a major reason for the sharp rise in costly joint replacements. Excess weight can also cause premature failure of an artificial joint.

Breathing Problems In addition to causing shortness of breath during physical exertion, obesity is the leading cause of obstructive sleep apnea — breathing stops periodically during sleep, followed by an abrupt intake of air and loud snoring. Apnea disrupts sleep and results in daytime drowsiness that can cause accidents.

Cancer People who are obese are at increased risk of developing cancers of the colon, breast, endometrium, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, thyroid and gallbladder. One possible reason: increased amounts of growth factor in obese people may promote tumor development. Metabolic Syndrome One-third of overweight and obese people have a constellation of six factors that seriously raise the risk of cardiovascular disease: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, excessive clotting factors and inflammatory compounds in the bloodstream. Abdominal fat is especially hazardous because it is metabolically active, unlike relatively inert fat on the hips and thighs.

The list of obesity’s hazards goes on: infertility in women, pregnancy problems, gallstones and gout, not to mention emotional disorders, social ostracism and employment discrimination.

The first step toward avoiding all of these is a simple calculation to determine whether you are at risk. The most frequently used measure is body mass index, calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, among others, offers a free calculator online. In general, a B.M.I. of 30 or more indicates obesity, but B.M.I. can be misleading if heavy bones and big muscles account for a large portion of someone’s weight.

A simpler measure is a waistline as large as or larger than a person’s hips. Overweight typically starts at a waist of 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women.

The easiest assessment of all? Stand naked in front of a mirror and honestly assess the contribution that fat is making to your body’s composition. It’s not hard to see.

This post has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: July 1, 2013

An earlier version of this article misstated the formula for calculating body mass index. The measurement is reached by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters — not centimeters — squared.

A version of this article appeared in print on 07/02/2013, on page D7 of the NewYork edition with the headline: A Label Calls Attention to Obesity .

South Asian Immigrants Have Highest Diabetes Rates

With obesity still on the rise across the nation, according to a new study carried out in New York City, Indian immigrants have the highest rate of diabetes.

The study took data from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the findings were that those from Southern Asia: Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan had double the rate of diabetes than other foreign-born Asians.

The study’s author, Leena Gupta from the NYC health department said that the outcome indicates that it is people with a normal BMI (body mass index) that are most prone to suffer with the disease, and that this suggests that the standard BMI recommendations are not good indicators of the risk of diabetes, particularly in the case of South Asians and who should be screened for diabetes, regardless of whether they are deemed overweight or not.

Standard BMI Chart

Standard BMI Chart

More than 54,000 people participated in the study that was carried out between 2002 and 2008, with the purpose being to see how diabetes affected different ethnic groups. Nine percent of those participating in the study said that they had been diagnosed with diabetes, and that the condition was generally more common in people born outside of the United States. 13.6% of foreign-born South Asians had diabetes, compared with 7.4% other Asians and 5.6% non-Hispanic whites born in the US. 14.4% of Hispanics born in the US had diabetes and 11.8% of non-Hispanic blacks born in the US suffered with the condition.

But it was once the researchers began to look at the BMI categories and comparing them to each other that they realised that it was South Asians born outside of the US that had the highest diabetes rates.

The authors of the study have concluded that the standard BMI rate as used for Americans and Europeans is not effective for South Asians and that a South Asian-specific BMI needs to be established in order to effectively look at the risks of the condition.

Standard American diet

Standard American diet - Mmmmm injections. Yum.

There doesn’t appear to be any information about diet and whether the foreign-born South Asians (nor any of the other ethnic groups) embraced the standard American diet, or whether they continued to eat food types native to their countries of origin.

Great improvements in many health conditions can be enjoyed by eating a healthy organic plant-based diet and avoiding alcohol and other known destroyers of health.

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Increased television viewing leads to negative impacts on kids

A recently conducted study has revealed that increased exposure of television among children mainly in the age group of two to five years may lead to several negative consequences. According to, early exposure of television has been found to be responsible for poor academic performance and unhealthy routinely habits among children. The research study was conducted by a group of researchers from the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center, the Université de Montréal and the University of Michigan.

During the study, researchers investigated around 1,314 children and their parents and teachers. Parents were questioned about the time their kids devoted to TV viewing on daily basis while their teachers were told to give a detailed academic report of the children. The body mass index, health habits and the psychological profile of these kids were also checked.

As per, the findings of the study revealed that increased television viewing leads to seven percent fall in the classroom performance, ten percent rise in the rate of being bullied by peers, nine percent rise in the physical activity and five percent increase in the body mass index.

“Our findings make a compelling public health argument against excessive TV viewing in early childhood and for parents to heed guidelines on TV exposure from the American Academy of Pediatrics.” concluded Dr. Linda S. Pagani.

This study suggests excessive TV watching can lead to an increased BMI. Celebrities who have battled weight issues include Kirstie AlleyOprah Winfrey and Sharon Osbourne.


Study finds elderly overweight people live longer

The general message has always been to have a healthy weight, usually determined by the Body Mass Index (BMI). A new study, however, has found that being slightly overweight when older can let you live longer.

The Australian study had found that elderly people above the age of 70 who, according to the BMI scale, are out of the normal range and in the slightly overweight range, had a lower mortality rate.

According to the BBC, the study, conducted at the University of Western Australia, set out to determine “what level of body mass index (BMI) was associated with the lowest risk of death in the elderly”. The study suggests that dieting may not be a healthy option for people in this age group.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society

, tested 9,240 individuals, the LA Times reports.

The study found that men and women who were slightly overweight at the age of 70 showed lower mortality rates over the next ten years than the men and women who fit into the “normal” BMI range.

The study’s lead author Leon Flickr of the University of Western Australia said. “These results add evidence to the claims that the [World Health Organization] BMI thresholds for overweight and obese are overly restrictive for older people. It may be timely to review the BMI classification for older adults.”

While proven here to be beneficial, being overweight usually comes hand in hand with health problems; learn more about obesity and cholesterol. Also, learn more about a study that has found a hormone called ghrelin is responsible for snacking.

Many celebrities have battled weight issues, including Oprah Winfrey and Kirstie Alley.

Image:, courtesy:


Obesity is one of the most serious health conditions of the 21st century, and a leading cause of death. Obesity may simply be defined as too much body fat – so much so, that is has a serious effect on a person’s health.

The health factors that go hand-in-hand with obesity include the following:
– Heart disease
– Lower life expectancy
Type 2 diabetes
– Breathing difficulties
– Easier sucception to various types of cancer
– Osteoarthritis

Obesity is easily calculated using the body mass index (BMI).
The equation to use here is the weight divided by the height, squared (metric system). for example, a person weighing 62kg with a height of 168 would divide 62 by 28,224 (which is the height squared). The result will go into decimal places. For a clearer answer, just multiply this by 10,000. The body mass index that results here is 22, which is in the normal range.


Less than 18.5 = underweight
BMI of 18.5 – 24.9 = normal body weight
BMI of 25 – 29.9 = overweight
BMI of 30 – 34.9 = Class 1 obesity
BMI of 35 – 39.9 = Class 2 obesity
A BMI of over 40 is classified as severe obesity
A BMI of over 45 is classified as morbid obesity
A BMI of over 50 is classified as severe obesity

Click here to calculate your BMI.

Obesity can be combatted in the simplest manners. Usually a change in diet (including eating less fatty foods and consuming fewer calories in a day) along with excercise with remedy the problem. Many people, however, fall into the morbidly obese sector, weighing more and having more percentage body fat than reguarly obese people. Because some form of food addiction accompanies this, more drastic measures may sometimes be taken. This may include a type of therapy, whether in a rehab clinic or personal, to overcome an incadescent need to eat. Medication, such as pills to reduce fat absorbtion, may also be prescribed.

More drastic measures may include surgery. Whether is be a gastic bypass or lap-band surgery, these all include a procedure to decrease the volume of the stomach, allowing the patient to eat less food while becoming fuller quickly.

Obesity is on the rise across the globe, with children currently being affected nearly as often as adults. Some factors that contribute to obesity include:
– Genetics
– Diet
– Sedentary lifestyle (less excercise)

Several celebrities have battled weight problems. These include Sharon Osbourne, Oprah Winfrey, John Candy and Kirstie Alley.
Click here to find out more about obesity.