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U.S. Obesity Rates Leveling Off, But Still High
Date:1/13/2010

And rates among boys aged 6-19 still climbing, government study finds

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Some good news in the war on weight: Obesity in the United States may finally be stabilizing instead of increasing, two new studies show.

But the rates of obesity remain high, with about one-third of Americans still falling into that weight category. And, rates of obesity among already heavy 6- to 19-year-old boys appear to be increasing.

"Obesity still remains a significant problem that we need to deal with, but recent data suggests the increasing trend of obesity may be slowing down," said the lead author of one of the studies, Cynthia Ogden, an epidemiologist at the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Md.

Results of the studies were being published online Jan. 13 in advance of print publication Jan. 20 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In an accompanying editorial, Dr. J. Michael Gaziano, from the Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center, wrote that these studies "offer a glimmer of hope that in the United States at least, the steady, decades-long increases in overweight and obesity may have slowed or perhaps reached a plateau. But even if these trends can be maintained, 68 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or obese, and almost 32 percent of school-aged children and adolescents are at or above the 85th percentile of body-mass index (BMI) for age."

The consequences of obesity are far-reaching. Excess weight is linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, joint disease, sleep apnea, asthma and other chronic conditions, Gaziano said.

After remaining relatively stable between 1960 and 1980, obesity rates steadily increased, according to government statistics gathered from 1988 to 1994 and again from 1999 to 2000.

The current studies included dat
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