by Cathy Drummond
People in America have gotten bigger. Citing usnews.com, the obesity rate currently stands at around 40% for adult in the U.S. Coming from a 2017 – 2018 Center for Diseases Control Prevention study, the rate was approximately 42.4%. And, in 2017 – 2018, was the first time the rate went above 40%. Citing pbs.org, as well, 40% represents 4 in 10 Adult Americans are obese. And, almost 1 out of 10 are severely obese.
In 1999, America’s adult obesity rate stood at around 31%, rounded up. However, since 1999, the rates have been on an upward climb. To be considered overweight or obese, a person’s body mass index (BMI) is measured at least 30%. Or, in more simpler terms, body fat. And, when BMI reaches 40% or higher, that is considered morbidly obese. Meaning, quality of life and health issues are being severely impacted.
And, upon reviewing recent CDC data sets from 2011 – 2014, certain factors are apparent, but exactly how cannot be accurately ascertained yet. And, so citing cdc.gov, BMI measures body fat, of which certain contributing factors can be roots causes for obesity. Roots causes and factors being socioeconomic as well. The CDC compared income and education level in order to develop some system of comparison as to what may contribute to obesity.
And, in some age and ethnic groups certain patterns will correlate but not necessarily be causal by nature. Incidentally, the CDC states during the time of this study, the relationships between obesity and income, and obesity and education were complex, differing among population subgroups. Whereas overall obesity prevalence decreased with increased levels of income and educational attainment among women, the association was more complex among men.
However, the CDC readily admits the limitations on the findings. The findings in this report are subject to at least two limitations. First, BMI is a proxy for body fat and BMI ≥30 was applied to persons in all racial/Hispanic origin groups, which might result in underestimating health risks for certain populations.
But the most recent findings do suggest there is a growing problem, albeit not as prevalent as earlier years. Specifically, 2017 – 2018, where the rates were actually higher. Citing usnews.com, in 2017 – 2018, the highest obesity rates were among Black Adults at 49.6%, and lowest among Asian Americans at 17.4%.
The disparages in obesity rates among ethnic groups could be attributed to a number of factors. And, citing the cdc.gov, some of the main factors are behavior of each group (or the specific group life and health styles.) Another contributing factor for the differences in obesity are the community environment, with genetics or family history being complicit as well. Disease and drugs may also contribute.
However, regardless of the reason why obesity stands at around 40%, the consequences can be staggering. Thereby, adding to a health crisis if not addressed. Crisis in health which include Mortality, Hypertension, high levels of (bad) cholesterol, type 2 diabetes. Coronary heart disease, stroke, gall bladder disease, osteoporosis, sleep apnea, low quality of life, various cancers, mental health issues, body pain, and difficulty functioning physically can all be attributed to obesity.