Monday, December 10, 2007

Obesity Rates Stable, Problematic

tidbits that tantalizeUsing The Alternate Burger Mustard Index

Americans love to eat - and it shows.

The "good" news is that for the first time in a quarter century the obesity rates are not rising. But, while the obesity rates have stabilized in the past couple years, there is no real call to celebrate. Americans continue to tip the scales on the high side. The U.S. centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over 72 million Americans were overweight in 2005-2006. Yes, that's a BIG number...

Parity among the sexes is also a new phenomenon. In the past, women were more likely than men to be obese. But, in an apparent bow to political correctness, men have feverishly packed on the pounds in recent years in a valiant effort to equalize obesity rates. Congratulations, guys - you are now every bit as overweight as your female counterparts. Time to celebrate with a three-layer chocolate cake?

Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more. The BMI is calculated from a person's height and weight, and is one means of predicting weight-related health complications. Previous studies have shown obesity to contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

"In view of these alarmingly high rates of obesity in all population groups, CDC has made the prevention of obesity one of its top public health priorities," said Janet Collins, director of CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. "We are actively working in partnership with state and local public health agencies, the nation's schools, community organizations, businesses, medical systems and faith communities to promote and support healthy eating, physical activity and healthy weight."

What can be done? Well, consider a few simple steps to start. That's right - open the front door, step outside, and walk. Anywhere will do. Once you get there, turn left - or right - and see where else your little legs may take you.

To read more about the report, see this from Reuters. To read more about the BMI, and to calculate your own BMI, see this from the Mayo Clinic.

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