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Female Obesity Rates on the Rise

According to researchers from the National Center for Health Statistics, at the CDC, increases in obesity rates tend to wax and wane. For instance, in 2003–2004 rates increased in the U.S. male population but remained static among women. Then, between 2005 and 2014, the rates were stagnant among men, and for women they rose.

The researchers reached their conclusions by combing through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In analyzing data for 2013–2014 (from 2,638 men and 2,817 women), they found that the overall prevalence of obesity—indicated by a body mass index of 30 or above—was 38% for those 2 years. Rates in men and women were 35% and 40%, respectively. The prevalence of class 3 obesity (a BMI of 40 or above) was 8% for the entire sample, 6% among men (5.5% before rounding) and 10% among women.

The researchers pointed out that, while obesity rates didn’t change much in men compared with earlier years, levels among women saw an uptick during the 2-year period.

“For women, the prevalence of overall obesity and of class 3 obesity showed significant linear trends for increase between 2005 and 2014; there were no significant trends for men,”
they reported. “Other studies are needed to determine the reasons for these trends.”

The study was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (2016; 315 [21], 2284–91.

Photo Credit: Photography courtesy of UCONN Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

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