It is no secret that in American culture, we like things big. Big SUVs, big sodas and big butts are the norm, but it’s clear that this penchant for all things big has led to a shift in the Body Mass Index of our nation’s population. And now, researchers are being forced to issue a wake up call.
The Study: A Survey of Our Nation’s BMI
Obese Americans now outnumber overweight Americans, according to a report in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. The data comes the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and analyzed by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
The data was collected from 2007 to 2012, and the results were found by analyzing the Body Mass Index of each person. The BMI categorizes each individual based on height and weight. It classifies 18.5-to- 24.9 as normal, 25-to-29.9 as overweight and anything over 30 as obese.
The Findings: Obesity Takes The Lead
Overall, the study found that about 67.6 million Americans over the age of 25 are obese. An additional 65.2 million were found to be overweight.
Two of every three American women were classified as being above the normal weight, and 37 percent were found to be obese with only 30 percent qualifying as overweight. For men, 35 percent were found to be obese but 40 percent were found to be overweight.
African American men and women ranked the highest, with 57 percent of women and 39 percent of men qualifying as obese. In addition, African Americans were more likely to be considered ‘extremely’ obese, with 17 percent of women and 7 percent of men having a BMI over 40.
For Mexican Americans, 43 percent of women and 38 percent of men were considered obese. And for whites, 34 percent of women and 35 percent of men qualified as obese.
In summary, the study shows that two-thirds of women and three-quarters of men are overweight or obese in America. This means that by comparison, very few Americans are at a normal weight.
The Future: What Can You Do About Obesity?
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute said that as a person adds more weight to their body, the risk of health complications becomes greater. Obesity is associated with a number of diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, to name a few.
Researchers encourage doctors to prescribe physical activity and a healthy diet in order to prevent and treat obesity. Calculate your BMI here to see where you fall, and contact your doctor to learn more about how to fight obesity.