Rates of Overweight and Obesity May Be Stabilizing

But the prevalence of overweight and obesity still high in adults and children
By A. Agrawal, PhD
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Although the prevalence of overweight and obesity is still high in adults and children in the United States, the rates appear to be stabilizing in the past decade, according to two studies published online Jan. 13 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Katherine M. Flegal, Ph.D., and colleagues from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Hyattsville, Md., assessed the prevalence of obesity and overweight from 2007 to 2008 using data from 5,555 adults. They found that 68.0 percent were overweight or obese (body mass index [BMI] of 25 or higher) and 33.8 percent were obese (BMI of 30 or higher). More men than women were overweight or obese. However, the increases in the prevalence of obesity observed from 1976 to 2000 do not appear to be continuing, according to the study.

Cynthia L. Ogden, Ph.D., and colleagues from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Hyattsville, Md., examined trends in high BMI using data from 3,281 children and adolescents (2 to 19 years of age). The researchers found that from 2007 to 2008, 16.9 percent were at or above the 95th percentile of BMI for age, while 31.7 percent were at or above the 85th percentile of BMI for age. In general, there was no significant trend since 1999.

The studies "offer a glimmer of hope that in the United States at least, the steady, decades-long increases in overweight and obesity may have slowed or perhaps reached a plateau," writes the author of an accompanying editorial. "Given the risk of obesity-related major health problems, a massive public health campaign to raise awareness about the effects of overweight and obesity is necessary."

The author of the editorial reported a consulting relationship with Bayer and having served as a medical expert for Merck.

Abstract - Flegal
Full Text - Flegal
Abstract - Ogden
Full Text - Ogden
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