Report of increased obesity rates in 1999
sak2 at cdc.gov
Tue Oct 3 14:19:48 PDT 2000
Please pardon the cross-posting.
Hello. Below is a press release from CDC about
a JAMA letter to the editor reporting an increase
in obesity rates in the United States in 1999.
Public Health Nutritionist
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
sak2 at cdc.gov
Embargoed 4:00 p.m. (CT), Tuesday, October 3, 2000
October 2, 2000
Contact: Tim Hensley
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion
CDC, Division of Media Relations
Obesity Continues Climb in 1999 Among American Adults
The prevalence of obesity in the United States
continued to grow in 1999, representing a serious
public health threat to millions of Americans, according
to a CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
letter to the editor published in the October 4, 2000
issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Obesity rose 6 percent nationally between 1998 and
1999, and the increase affected all regions and demographic
groups and most states in the United States. Obesity is
defined as having a body mass index of 30 or higher.
A BMI of 30 in most cases means an individual is about
30 pounds overweight. Since 1991, obesity among adults
has increased by nearly 60 percent nationally.
"The continuing epidemic of obesity is a critical public
health problem," said Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, Director of the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "As a nation,
we need to respond as vigorously to this epidemic as we
do to an infectious disease epidemic." Dr. Koplan said that
national efforts were needed to encourage physical activity
and better nutrition and conduct research to identify effective
educational, behavioral, and environmental approaches to
control and prevent obesity.
Certain subgroups had increases in obesity that
exceeded the national rate. For example, individuals
30-39 years of age had a 10 percent increase in obesity
between 1998 and 1999. A recent study by CDC found
that diabetes in this same age group increased by 70
percent in the 1990s. In addition, between 1998 and
1999, the researchers found a 10 percent increase in
obesity among individuals with some college education,
compared to a 6 percent increase among those with a
high school education.
"As obesity rates continue to grow at epidemic
proportions in this country, the net effect will be
dramatic increases in related chronic health conditions
such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the future,"
said Dr. Koplan. CDC recently reported that diabetes
increased by 33 percent among adults during the 1990s,
which reflects the surge in the obesity epidemic during
that same period.
Between 1998 and 1999, among racial/ethnic populations,
the largest increase was found among whites, who had a 7
percent increase in obesity.
These data are self-reported prevalence of obesity derived
from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS),
a standardized telephone survey conducted by state health
agencies in collaboration with CDC. In 1999, a total of nearly
150,000 individuals from all states completed the BRFSS survey.
Overweight and physical inactivity account for more than
300,000 premature deaths each year in the U.S., second
only to tobacco-related deaths.
In order to control the obesity epidemic CDC suggests
several approaches: health care providers must counsel
their obese patients; workplaces should offer healthy food
choices in their cafeterias and provide opportunities for
employees to be physically active on site; schools should
offer more physical education that encourages lifelong
physical activity; urban policymakers should provide more
sidewalks, bike paths, and other alternatives to cars; and
parents should reduce their children's TV and computer
time and encourage outdoor play. In addition to proper
nutrition, it is important to restore physical activity to daily
routines to promote health. Just 30 minutes each day of
moderate physical activity improves health.
To obtain electronic copies of the maps and tables
on the 1999 obesity information, please call the press
contacts listed above. For more information about nutrition
and physical activity, call toll-free 1-888-CDC-4NRG or visit
the CDC's nutrition and physical activity website at .
More information about the PHNUTR-L