The obesity epidemic continues to get worse in the US where 40% of women and 35% of men and 17% of children and adolescents are considered obese, according to two reports released Tuesday.
The research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the many efforts made to encourage Americans to lose weight, or at least maintain the status quo, have very little impact.
“It’s a story that is neither good nor surprising,” wrote Jody Zylke and Howard Bauchner, respectively editor and assistant editor of JAMA in an editorial commenting on the two studies.
“The obesity epidemic in the US lasted three decades. Huge investments have been made in the areas of research, clinical care and programs to combat obesity. But few data indicate a decrease in the problem,” they said.
In the first study, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studied the rate of obesity among 2,368 men and 2,817 adult women. These data were collected on the occasion of national surveys conducted in 2013 and 2014 and among 21,013 participants interviewed between 2005 and 2012.
Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. A BMI of 40 or more is considered morbid obesity. BMI is calculated by dividing weight (in kilograms) by the square of height (in meters).
Obesity is linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.
The results of the study show that in 2013-2014, the overall rate of obesity in the population was 38%. It was 35% for men and 40% for women.
Another third of Americans is considered overweight, with a BMI of 25-29.
For the same period, the morbid obesity rate was 7.7%, 5.5% for men and 9.9% among women.
These researchers found that male smokers are thinner. But in women, smoking does not have much effects on weight.
An analysis of the evolution of these figures between 2005 and 2014 showed a significant trend of linear increase in rates of obesity and morbid obesity in women, but no particular increase among men.