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Obesity Rates Level Off

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rise in obesity has hit a plateau. Now, that’s the kind of plateau we can celebrate.

Of course, it couldn’t continue on a constant upward trend. Nevertheless, it is cause for some reserved celebration. But only a little.Obesity-waist_circumference

“This is not a cause for complacency or celebration,” says Dr. William H. Dietz, director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the CDC, “but it is cause for modest optimism.”

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined height and weight data from a national sample of 5,555 adults collected in 2007 and 2008. In the sample, about 34 percent of the subjects were obese.

Those numbers were compared to ones collected from 1999 to 2006 in a similar sample. Among women, obesity statistics remained fairly flat throughout the period encompassed by the two studies. The obesity rates among men rose slightly during the decade, but leveled off in the later years.

The numbers in a second study involving infants, pre-teens, and teens revealed a similar stabilization in the rising obesity rates.

“We’re continuing to see slowing,” said Cynthia Ogden, an epidemiologist for the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics and lead author of the children’s report. “Although the prevalence of obesity remains very high.”

That last point is particularly important. Even if the obesity rates are leveling off, that does not mean that the prevalence of obesity is shrinking.

Obesity experts aren’t quite sure what is causing the slowdown. But, Dr. William H. Dietz, director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the CDC, believes that an increasing consciousness of the issues may have contributed.

(via: Los Angeles Times)

January 19th, 2010

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