The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) issued it’s new report last week. And, once again, it’s sad.
Every year since 1957, the CDC has been asking Americans 18 and older about their health and the health of their family members as part of the National Health Interview Survey.
The new report contains data from the 2015 survey, which included more than 100,000 people.
And, while I don’t agree with the their use of BMI metrics, in this case being the general population (as opposed to athletes) I believe their percentages are fairly accurate.
The publication says 30.4% of Americans were OBESE in 2015, with a 95% confidence interval (so somewhere between 29.62% and 31.27%). That’s compared to 19.4% in 1997.
Obesity was highest for black women (45%), followed by black men (35.1%), Latina women (32.6%), Latino men (32%), white men (30.2%) and white women (27.2%).
The data in the release did NOT provide any information on other ethnic or racial groups, nor did it break down obesity rates by household income.
In concert with rising obesity rates, Americans are getting more diabetic.
In 1997, 5.1% of U.S. adults had been diagnosed with diabetes. By 2015, that number had nearly doubled, to 9.5%.
Looking at the 2015 survey data alone, you might think that we’ve at least plateaued when it comes to obesity rates.
The release says 2015′s 30.4% “…was higher than, but not significantly different from, the 2014 estimate of 29.9%.”
That’s good news! We’ve stopped growing, so now we can put our focus on shrinking back down!
Not so fast. 2014′s figure “…was higher than, but not significantly different from, the 2013 estimate of 29.0%.”
And that number itself “was not significantly different from the 2012 estimate of 28.9%.” See a pattern?
With a few years of numbers, 30.4% is definitely starting to look different enough from 28.9% to be a problem.
Another thing not directly addressed in the release is that that these obesity rates are calculated from self-reported heights and weights. The problem is that people like to present themselves as taller and skinnier than they really are.
If you are a human being living in the United States, you have probably done both at some point, adding on half an inch here and shaving off five pounds there.
Research backs that up: Most people do both during research surveys.
So there’s a distinct possibility, although again it’s not addressed, that these numbers are and have always been a smidge higher in reality than they are on paper.
It’s clear that Americans have been getting steadily fatter for the last 18 years.
America is most certainly getting fatter by the year. But, the bodies contributing to this phenomenon can’t just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and drive down the numbers through sheer will.
This is a problem that calls for better, credible health education… period.