Life

Gallup: U.S. Obesity Rate Surges to 28%

Obesity remains a serious issue in the U.S., where the percentage of obese adults continues to climb, according to a new survey from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The annual survey shows that the percentage of obese adults in the U.S. has increased to 27.7 percent in 2014, up from 25.5 percent in 2008.

The latest data represents the highest obesity rate in the seven years that Gallup and Healthways have carried out the survey.  What’s more, the greatest increase in obesity — up 4 percentage points to 27.4 percent — was reported by those ages 65 and older, according to survey results.

The next highest spike was in the 45-to-64 age group, where obesity rates climbed 3.5 percentage points to a whopping 33 percent, according to study results.

“As Americans become more obese, their well-being declines significantly as measured by Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index scores,” survey organizers said in a published statement.

Likewise, researchers from McGill University have completed a study showing that obesity can subtract up to eight years from an individual’s life. And when it comes to quality of life, being overweight or obese can steal up to 20 years of healthy living. That’s because excess weight is linked to chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, which can diminish the quality of life.

The good news? “Losing as little as 10 percent of excess body weight seems to have health benefits,” says Cathy Clark-Reyes, a registered dietitian with Baptist Health Primary Care.  “That’s a realistic start.”

To conduct its survey, Gallup-Healthways interviewed more than 167,000 people and collected weight and height data, which was used to compute body mass index (BMI). Here’s the breakdown of weight categories based on BMI score.

  • Obese: a score of 30 or higher.
  • Overweight: BMI of 25-29.9.
  • Normal weight:  18.5 to 24.9.
  •  Underweight: 18.4 and under.
  • The greatest changes in weight categories have occurred within the overweight and obese categories, according to the Gallup-Healthways survey. The percentage of those who ranked as morbidly obese — based on a BMI score of 40 or higher — climbed to 4 percent in 2014, an all-time high for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

    Average waistlines have expanded significantly from 1999 to 2012, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this September.

    The average man’s waist grew from 38.9 inches to 39.7 inches; the average woman’s waist expanded more, from 36.3 inches to 37.8 inches, according to the research published in the medical journal, JAMA.

    Even more troubling is the news about “abdominal obesity” —  a condition that increases the risks of diabetes, heart disease and premature death, according to previous studies.  A new study shows that 43 percent of men and 64 percent of women are in the more risk-prone abdominal-obesity zone. That’s up from 37 percent of men and 55 percent of women in 1999.

    Here are more stories about obesity, nutrition and fitness: 

  • Excess Weight, Shorter Life?
  • Watch Now: “The Obesity Epidemic in America: Corporate Wealth vs. Public Health”
  • Watch Now: Sleep-Starved and Overeating?
  • Obesity and Cancer – A Growing Connection
  • ‘Too Much Sitting’ Linked to Disabilities after Age 60
  • How Much Exercise Do You Need?
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