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Obesity in U.S. Adults Levels Off

1 in 3 Adults Is Obese, the Same as 4 Years Ago, CDC Says
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 28, 2007 -- America's obesity boom may be leveling off. But that plateau is still far higher than a quarter of a century ago and twice as high as the CDC wants it to be.

The CDC today reported that one in three U.S. adults was obese in 2005-2006, the same as in 2003-2004.

Those obesity statistics work out to more than 72 million obese adults, according to the CDC.

Those calculations are based on BMI (body mass index), which relates height to weight. In adults, a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.

For instance, a woman who's 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 186 pounds or more is obese, based on her BMI. So is a man who's 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 203 pounds or more.

Curious about your BMI? Use WebMD's BMI calculator.

The CDC's statistics on obesity also show that about two-thirds of obese U.S. adults say their doctor has told them that they are "overweight."

But "obese" and "overweight" aren't the same. Obesity involves a higher BMI than the threshold for being overweight.

Jargon aside, the CDC's obesity statistics make this clear: The U.S. has a long way to go to trim its obesity statistics and a short time to get there.

By 2010, the federal government wants no more than 15% of U.S. adults to be obese.

Adult obesity is twice as common as it was in 1980, and it makes conditions including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), and some cancers more likely, notes the CDC.

If you're among the millions of people who want to lose extra weight -- maybe as your New Year's resolution -- check in with your doctor for pointers on safe, lasting weight loss.

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