Obesity in America is Much Worse Than We Thought

by Digby_Adams

Statistics about obesity have been underestimating the number of obese Americans for years a new report found.

In 2010 the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) declared that 36% of all adult Americans and 17% of children are obese. If those numbers weren't alarming enough, a new study now asserts that the CDC methodology underestimated the number of fat adults - buy as much as 40%. How could this happen. Well the CDC uses the Body Mass Index (BMI). A mathematical equation that correlates a person's height and weight. The newer study conducted by Eric Braverman from the New York University School of Medicine compared the BMI measurement to more exacting methods of measuring a person's body fat. One of the tests is known as Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry. It measures body fat, muscle mass, bone density and leptin. Leptin is a body protein that regulates your metabolism. The researchers found that BMI underestimated obesity by 4%. This resulted in 39% of the people being reclassified as obese. The numbers for women are more frightening - 50% more should have been classified as obese.

Body Adiposity (body fat) Index a Possible Alternative

Now in all fairness, these mis-classified people weren't told they were skinny. The classification went from overweight to obese. The BMI test is free. So it's much less expensive than the NYU researchers used. Another indicators that doctors have started to use is the Body Adiposity Index. This compares a person's height and hip measurement.

If you're at all concerned about your weight and its impact on your health, then if your BMI indicates that your overweight, you might want to request the more detailed health tests. A BMI of 30 currently indicates obesity. A BMI of 25 or under is considered healthy.

Th Body Adiposity Test is now being evaluated on Mexican-Americans and African-Americans to determine if it accurately portrays their health or obesity. Further tests will be required on White and Asian-Americans as well.

Obesity in America by State Using the BMI

Obesity in America has a distinct regional trend, with Southern States leading the way. Mississipi (34.0%) is the most obese state. Followed by West Virginia (32.5%), South Carolina (31.5%), Texas (31.0%), Oklahoma (30.4%), Kentucky (31.3%), Louisiana (31.0%), Michigan (30.9%), Missouri (30.5%), Alabama (32.2%).

Obesity in America is Costly

The CDC estimated that in 2008 obesity-related medical costs totaled $147 Billion. Obese patients spent more than $1,428 each year than people of normal weight. Obesity has also been linked to less worker productivity and more time off from work.

Diseases affected by obesity include heart disease, diabetes, liver and gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and infertility.

Obesity in Pregnant Women Recently Linked to Autsim

A study released by the University of California at Davis suggest a strong link between women who entered pregnancy obese and the likelihood of delivering a child with autism. The way the study worked is that 1,000 children between the ages of two and five were studied. The results showed that an obese woman is 67% more likely to have a child with autism. Researchers believe that the combination of obesity, which then causes diabetes, combines to somehow affect the neurological development of the fetus. Although the study's finds said that obese women without diabetes were more than 67% likely to have a baby with autism.

Twenty percent of the mothers of children with autism were obese, while only 14% of mothers of children without autism or other developmental delays were obese.

Diabetes in and of itself might be a contributor to autism. The study determined that 9.3% of women with Type II diabetes had a child with autism and 11.6% had a child with at least developmental delay.

Updated: 04/15/2012, Digby_Adams
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Mladen on 04/07/2012

This is huge problem whole world is dealing with. Little or no physical activity and treating depression with food leads more and more people to obesity.
Effects of fat to one's body are horrible. I think providing these statistics and information about obesity to the reading population, can change their diet habits at least for a bit.
With new study showing higher percentage of obese people in the USA (and the world of course), we really need to work harder on sharing knowledge, changing our diet to better.

Digby_Adams on 04/06/2012

Thank you Katie. I was astounded at the obesity rates measured either way and their impact on health. It is something we can fix without costly measures. Education should go a long way.

katiem2 on 04/06/2012

This is fantastic and useful information. We must open our eyes and make changes, there is no habit that cannot be reversed. Thanks for covering this vital topic of obesity in America!

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