Obesity has been consistently on the rise in the U.S., despite the country’s best attempts through public awareness campaigns to curb American’s appetites.
That’s nothing new though. But this revelation is: women have now overtaken men in the obese category, according to new government research.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report Thursday that the obesity rate has climbed to nearly 38% of adults, up from 32% a decade earlier.
The data was taken from surveys conducted in 2013-14, which also found women overtaking men in obesity nationwide. Obesity rates for men and women had been roughly the same for about a decade. In this new report, the rate was significantly higher for women: 38%, compared to 34% for men.
The statistics are the most reliable of any study on obesity; figures come from a regular government survey that involves not only interviewing people about their girth but also actually weighing them. So it’s considered the ‘gold-standard’ in terms of measuring weight.
It’s perplexing that this news comes in light of government anti-obesity campaigns, dropping soda consumption figures, and fast-food chains adopting more nutritious options. New federal laws have even been added in the country, removing artificial trans fats from grocery store foods, and requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts on menus.
The widening gap between men and women seems to be driven by what’s happening among blacks and Hispanics, said the study’s lead author, the CDC’s Cynthia Ogden.
While the rates for white women and men are close, there’s a large disparity amongst black and Hispanic people. For blacks, the female obesity rate has risen to 57%, way above the male rate of 38%. The gender gap is widening among Hispanics, too – 46% for women, to 39% for men.
There was some good news in the report: for young people ages 2 to 19, the obesity rate hasn’t fluctuated, holding at about 17% over the past decade or so. A noticeable decline in obesity from kids aged 2-5 was discovered, too.
The CDC measures obesity by calculating Body Mass Index, a ratio of weight to height. For adults, a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is overweight, and 30 or higher is obese. According to CDC definitions, a 5-foot-10 man is overweight at 174 pounds and obese at 209.