CDC: Most American Adults Overweight

ByJustin Bachman

A T L A N T A, Dec. 15, 2000 -- The American waistline continues to expand, with

61 percent of adults now considered overweight, the government

reported Thursday.

And a growing number of Americans are not just overweight, butobese, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

More than a third of adults, 35 percent, are slightly ormoderately overweight, up from 33 percent in the last survey, whichcovered 1988-94. More than a quarter of Americans, 26 percent, areconsidered obese, or grossly overweight, compared with 23 percentin the last survey.

The findings are part of the 1999 National Health and NutritionExamination Survey, which measured the height and weight of 1,615people over age 20. Those figures are used to calculate body massindex, a formula involving a person’s weight divided by his or herheight squared.

A body-mass index of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, whileobesity is 30 or higher.

Too Little Exercise

People are getting heavier from a combination of too manycalories and too little exercise, said Jeff Lancashire, a spokesmanfor the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. He said anestimated 40 percent of Americans are physically inactive.

“Over the last few years, we’ve seen that people’s fat intakewas dropping, but they’re eating more calories,” Lancashire said.“So while people are turning to the diet foods, they’re eatingtwice as much.”

The first such survey, which covered 1960 to 1962, found thatonly 43 percent of the population was overweight. Beginning in the1980s, the survey and others like it began showing that Americanswere gaining weight.

The government hopes to cut the obesity rate to 15 percent by2010.

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