How Are We Doing, America?



Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine studied the trends in obesity incidence and physical activity during the past few years, and the news is shocking. Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1988 to 2010, trends in obesity, abdominal obesity, physical activity, and calorie intake were compared. Results showed that average body mass index (BMI) increased 0.37% each year in both men and women during that time period. Average waist circumference increased 0.37% in women and 0.27% in men per year. The prevalence of obesity and abdominal obesity increased substantially, especially in younger women. The percentage of adults who engaged in no leisure-time physical activity increased from 19.1% to 51.7% in women and from 11.4% to 43.5% in men. (Wow!) Average daily calorie intake did not change, which explains why the changes in BMI and waist circumference were linked to lack of exercise, not changes in food intake. 

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report the obesity epidemic may have leveled off at one-third of adults and 17% of children and teens being obese.

Ladabaum U, Mannalithara A, Myer P, et al: Obesity, abdominal obesity, physical activity, and caloric intake in U.S. adults: 1988-2010. American Journal of Medicine March 10th. 

Ogden C, Carroll M, Kit B, et al: Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. Journal of the American Medical Association 2014;311:806-814.


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