Friday, 20 May 2011

Obesity In The USA

Author: Arunraj V.S.

Obesity in the United States is at an all time high, growing faster than ever, doubling in adults and tripling in children, health officials have stated. Dr. Thomas Frieden, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has come out with a shocking report as he released data from the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

"Less than a decade ago, in 2000, not a single state had an obesity prevalence of 30 per cent or higher," Frieden said. In 2010, stated Frieden, one state managed could attain a health set by health officials to reduce the rate of obesity to 15 per cent or less. An additional 2.4 million US adults self-reported to the BRFSS that they were obese, pushing the national obesity rate up by 1.1 percentage points to 27 per cent, according to the BRFSS. Frieden also accused the difference on the data collection methods employed by each survey: BRFSS is self-reported while "in NHANES, participants are weighed and measured."

Obesity is body mass index greater than 30. This Body Mass Index, BMI is calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by their height squared in meters. In health terms, it means a person is at high risk for diseases ranging high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Medical costs are rising fast in the US due to escalating cases of obesity, augmenting the risk of early deaths due to diseases like heart disease, diabetes, stroke etc.In 2008, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at 147 billion dollars, Frieden said.

"That translates into medical costs for people who are obese that were 1,429 higher per person each year compared to normal-weight individuals," he said. A separate study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine stated that the percentage of obese adults in the United States shot up by 90 per cent in 16 years, from 14 percent in 1993 to 27 percent two years ago.

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