Tuesday, December 4, 2007

CDC: Adult Obesity Prevalence - No Significant Increase

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the new obesity prevalence statistics in a report titled, "Obesity Among Adults in the United States -- No Change Since 2003-2004". There was no "significant" change in obesity prevalence between 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 for either men or women. I would consider this "encouraging", but far from being exactly "good" news.

Some have declared that the media headlines should, at the very least, be shouting: “Obesity Epidemic Over!” (1). In literal terms, and based only on this piece of information, an obesity epidemic may, indeed, be over. After all, the definition of "epidemic", according to Webster's New World Medical Dictionary is "The occurrence of more cases of a disease than would be expected in a community or region during a given time period." Well, so what? Should we be proud of the current number of 34% being obese, knowing of the adverse health effects of obesity? According to the news release, more than one-third of U.S. adults -– over 72 million people -- were obese in 2005-2006. This includes 33.3 percent of men and 35.3 percent of women. The reality is that the lack of statistically significant increase in prevalence does not mean at all that we are OK. At the very best, we are just maintaining a peak high prevalence of obesity. Actually, the 2007 report of the Trust of America's Health (posted in the Bariatrics Lounge blog), using a different methodology, concluded that adult obesity rates showed an increase in 31 states last year. So, where is the truth. I would say, at the very best, and if we take only the CDC report, we are maintaining a dangerously high prevalence of obesity. And that all is about obesity in adults. Folks, we are not even talking about childhood obesity. Epidemic or not, it is already pretty bad.

(1) Please note: This blog does not endorse the Junkfood Science blog, which is mentioned here purely as a reference to an article that indicated one point of view.