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CDC Research Sees Spike in US Obesity Rate From 2018 to 2020

© AP Photo / Mark LennihanOverweight man wears a shirt patterned after the American flag
Overweight man wears a shirt patterned after the American flag - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.09.2021
New research from CDC shows that the number of US states with an obesity rate over 35% has nearly doubled since 2018.
The CDC reports that in 2018 only nine states reported an obesity rate over 35%, with that number jumping to 12 in 2019, and hitting 16 in 2020. Delaware, Iowa, Ohio and Texas joined Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia on that list in 2020.
The ballooning of America’s obesity rate is a recent development. According to a news release from Trust for America’s Health, as recently as 2012 no state had an obesity rate that eclipsed 35%. Every state now has an adult obesity rate that eclipses 20%.
The results of the study show serious demographic differences in the nation’s obesity rate, as well.
Thirty-five states reported an obesity rate among African American adults above 35%, 22 states reported an obesity rate among Hispanic adults above 35%, with another seven states having an obesity rate among non-Hispanic white adults above 35%. Zero states reported an obesity rate among Asian adults above 35%.
Education also plays a key factor in obesity rates.
“Obesity prevalence decreased by level of education. Adults without a high school degree or equivalent had the highest self-reported obesity (38.8%), followed by adults with some college (34.1%) or high school graduates (34.0%), and then by college graduates (25.0%),” the report added.
There is also evidence that the pandemic has fueled the growth in obesity. A Harris poll discovered that 42% of Americans reported weight gain since the pandemic started.
Of the respondents, the average weight gained was 29 pounds. A body mass index over 3.0 is considered obese by the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. A gain of 29 pounds for a 5’9, 150-pound person takes an individual from a healthy BMI of 22.1 to an overweight BMI of 26.4.
BMI is a useful tool for quickly and cheaply determining someone’s health based upon weight. It provides insights when aggregated in large datasets, but on an individual level can be misleading.
The results of the CDC’s findings pose a serious problem for the United States healthcare systems. Research has shown that obesity can lead to serious adverse health effects and increases the risk of serious complications from Covid. With healthcare and Covid polling highly on voter priorities, how public health officials combat America’s growing obesity crisis could become a heated political debate.
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