Posts Tagged ‘prevalence’

Is CDC Massaging the Obesity Stats?

November 22nd, 2015

The world was positively giddy this week following the release of a new CDC Obesity prevalence report. There was so much self-congratulation going on in the childhood obesity world I was afraid of an outbreak of carpal tunnel syndrome.

The headlines shouted that the childhood obesity numbers had stabilized and many groups claimed credit for the success. The CDC reported that, “the prevalence of obesity among U.S. youth was 17% in 2011-2014. Overall, the prevalence of obesity among preschool-aged children (2-5 years) (8.9%) was lower than among school-aged children (6-11 years) (17.5%) and adolescents (12-19) (20.5%).” The report goes on to state, “Between 2003-2004 and 2013-14, however, no change in prevalence was seen among youth.”

Hey, great news, no?  Well, the 17% figured was derived from averaging three groups: 2-5YOA, 6-11 YOA and 12-19 YOA. I question of including 2-5 year olds. The prevalence for this group is about half for the other age groups. And, frankly, they are toddlers. Their prevalence figure probably represents parental panic at the prospects of raising an overweight child. This panic may lead to restrained eating strategies which often fail as the child grows up. As soon as the child starts to exercise more control over their own feeding and behavior, the prevalence rate doubles. Doubles! Taking the 2-5 years old out of the equation, the youth prevalence rate is 19%, not 17%. , 19% is not leveling off. (Truth be told I did not attempt to re-calculate the historical figures without the 2-5 age group.) Keep in mind that CDC views obesity as a binary switch. You are either obese or not. They do not take into account the growth of body weights within the obesity category, i.e. class III or severe obesity growth.

Finally, the CDC does note, “The prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults remains higher than the Healthy People 2020 goal of 30.5%. Although the overall prevalence of childhood obesity is higher than the Healthy People 2020 goal of 14.5%, the prevalence of obesity among children aged 2-5 is below the goal of 9.4%.”

Before popping the champagne, advocates and the media should consider that we are moving further and further away from the targets of Healthy People 2020, not to mention Healthy People 2010. Therefore, it is reasonable to ask if self-congratulation based on failure is an appropriate response.

New Visualization of Obesity Changes

July 12th, 2013 has come up with a very interesting visualization of the obesity epidemic in the United States. Check it out here.


Gallup: Obesity Increases In All Age Groups

October 24th, 2012

The Gallup survey has reported that obesity has increased in every age group in the United States from 2008 to 2012. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracts health indicators. This survey showed significant increases in obesity among the elderly. It points to a steady pattern of weight gain through adulthood with decreases only in the 70s. “Most Americans who are over the age of 35 are now significantly more likely to be obese than those who were that same age four years ago, “ according to the report. GallupPoll: Obesity Increases in Every Age Group

China’s Childhood Obesity Rate Soars

October 15th, 2012

In 1986, China had no obesity epidemic in infants and preschool children. But by 2006, obesity prevalence had reached 4.1% in boys and 2.7% in girls, a 280% increase.  The study had a couple of interesting findings. First, prevalence among boys was increasing much faster than among girls, contrary to studies from the West and even Japan. Second, they observed an increase mainly among pre-school children but among infants. They note that exclusive breast-feeding for infants below six months has declined from 53.5% in 1995 to 32.8% in 2005. However, there was no difference between the obesity and control groups. Finally, family history of obesity was identified as a significant risk factor. PubMed:Secular trends in prevalence of obesity in infants and preschool children in China

Updated Adult Obesity Prevalence Figures

September 18th, 2012

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)  has issued one of its periodic reports, “Prevalence of overweight, obesity and extreme obesity among adults: United States Trends 1960-1962 Through 2009-2010.” The results of the 2009-2010 NHANES show that 33% of US adults are overweight, 35.7% are obese and 6.3% are extremely obese (defined as a BMI of 40 or more.)  In 1988-1994, the prevalence of adult obesity was 23%. The prevalence of obesity among adults 20-74 more than doubled between 1976-1980 and 2009-2010 while the prevalence of overweight was basically stable.

Extreme obesity has increased among adults age 20-74 from 0.9% in 1960-1962 to 6.6% in 2009-2010. Among men, the prevalence has changed from 0.3% to 4.6%; among women from 1.4% to 8.5%.



Updated obesity prevalence figures for children and adolescents

September 18th, 2012

NCHS has also updated the prevalence figures for children and adolescents, from 1963-1965 to 2009-2010. Overall, data from NHANES indicate 16.9% of children and adolescents aged 2-19 are obese. Among preschool children aged 2-5,  obesity increased from 5% to 12% between 1976-1980 and 2009-2010. Among children aged 6-11, the prevalence rate increased from 6.5% to 18% and among adolescents aged 12-19 from 5% to 18.4%.



State Level Obesity Rates Show Increases

August 15th, 2012

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new state level prevalence data on adult obesity. By my count, only 11 states have obesity rates below 25%. Not one state has reached Healthy People objective for adult obesity. CDC: State Adult Obesity Rates.

Is the Obesity Epidemic Leveling Off? Not so fast.

January 26th, 2012

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