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Saturday, 12 July 2014 11:37

Obesity and Society - Where Do We Stand (or Sit)?

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Obesity news is in and it's not good. We're not yet making a dent against the obesity epidemic. Earlier modest claims about childhood obesity in low-income families have been called into question. The one ray of hope is the new Affordable Care Act which requires new employee insurance policies to cover weight loss testing and treatment. (To find out if your work health insurance covers weight loss, ask your employer.)

Latest results show Americans losing ground against obesity. Gallup polls show adult obesity rate is now at 27.7% - the highest measured - up .6% from last year. Trends are worst among older Americans. According to Time magazine, "the vast majority of baby boomers (72% of men and 67% of women) are overweight or obese."

Perhaps most surprisingly, Gallup found that many Americans are overweight but do not realize it. In a recent poll, Gallup found that 55% of Americans say they are neither overweight or obese and not trying to lose weight; but in fact two-thirds (66%) are overweight or obese. So more than 1/10th of Americans are unaware they are putting themselves at increased risk for complications such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.

This week the Journal of the Public Library of Science (PLOS) published findings that high obesity rates (BMI of 55 or higher) can reduce life expectancy by up to 14 years.

Finally, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services MedlinePlus reports that "obesity is a growing problem among Hispanic Americans, especially among young adults."

After analyzing data from more than 16,300 Hispanics in Chicago, Miami, New York City and San Diego, the researchers found that 18 percent of women and 12 percent of men had a body mass index (BMI) over 35. (U.S. Dept. HSS)

According to the study, severe obesity was most common in young adults aged 25 to 34, affecting nearly one in 10 women in the age group.

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