New survey shows rise in obesity rate for US women

New survey shows rise in obesity rate for US women

The obesity rate for women in the US is increasing, according to a new survey released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Over 40% of women are obese, according to survey data collected as recently as 2014 and reported in a CDC study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Jama) yesterday (7 June). People are classed as obese if they have a body mass index of at least 30.

The CDC said the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity in 2013-2014 was 40.4% among women. The data compared rates of obesity between two periods - 2013-2014 and 2005-2006, when some 35.7% of women were obese.

By comparison, in 2013-2014, 35% of men were obese, while 35.2% were classified as such in 2005-2006.

The corresponding values for class 3 obesity - a condition of people with a body mass index of at least 40 - in 2013-2014 were 9.9% for women and 5.5% for men.

For women, the prevalence of overall obesity and of class 3 obesity "showed significant linear trends for increase between 2005 and 2014", the CDC said.

However, the CDC said there were "no significant trends for men". Other studies are needed to determine the reasons for these trends, the CDC said.

A second CDC study, published by Jama on the same day and covering the same period as the adult study, presented obesity rates for children and adolescents in the US across two periods - 1988 to 1994 and 2013 to 2014.

The survey of children and adolescents aged two- to 19-years-old indicated the prevalence of obesity in 2011-2014 was 17% and extreme obesity was 5.8%, the CDC said.

The data showed variations in the trend when looking at different age groups of children.

"Between 1988-1994 and 2013-2014, the prevalence of obesity increased until 2003-2004 and then decreased in children aged two to five-years-old; increased until 2007-2008 and then levelled off in children aged six to 11-years-old; and increased among adolescents aged 12 to 19-years-old," the CDC said.

Among children and adolescents aged two to 19 years, the prevalence of obesity in 2011-2014 was 17%, while extreme obesity stood at 5.8%.

In children aged two to five, obesity increased from 7.2% in 1988-1994 to 13.9% in 2003-2004 but then decreased to 9.4% in 2013-2014.

Among children aged six to 11, obesity grew from 11.3% in 1988-1994 to 19.6% in 2007-2008 but dipped to 17.4% in 2013-2014.

Obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased between 1988-1994 - when it stood at 10.5% - to 20.6% in 2013-2014.

Extreme obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years and adolescents between 12 and 19 rose. Children aged six to 11 with extreme obesity increased from 3.6% between the 1988-1994 period to 4.3% in the 2013-2014 period.

Some 2.6% of adolescents aged 12 to 19 years were classed as extremely obese in the 1988-1994 period. By 2013-2014, that level had risen to 9.1%. However, the CDC said "no significant trends were observed" between the 2005-2006 and 2013-2014 periods.

Both studies analysed data from nationally representative surveys of the US population that included questions about weight and height, the CDC said. Researchers looked at participants' body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight relative to height, to assess trends in obesity over time.

In a step to tackle obesity in the US the US Food and Drug Administration said last month that labels on food sold in the country would include information showing how much sugar had been added by manufacturers. The agency said Nutrition Facts labels would include details on "added sugars" in grams and in percentage form. The move to separate out the sugar suppliers have put in food from the overall amount of the ingredients was welcomed by campaigners.