90 percent of american men will be obese
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Most Americans risk obesity, U.S. government says
Oct. 3, 2005 - Ninety percent of U.S. men and 70 percent of women eventually become overweight, meaning hardly any American will escape it unless something drastic changes, U.S. researchers said on Monday.
The older they get, the more likely Americans are to put on the extra pounds that take them out of the healthy weight class and make them overweight or obese, the researchers said.
"National surveys and other studies have told us that the United States has a major weight problem, but this study suggests that we could have an even more serious degree of overweight and obesity over the next few decades," said Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, which paid for the study.
"In addition, these results may underestimate the risk for some ethnic groups." Black and Hispanic Americans are more prone to be overweight or obese than whites.
The report, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that over 30 years, nine out of 10 men and seven out of 10 women taking part in a Massachussetts-based study became or stayed overweight.
More than a third were obese or became obese.
"Our results, although not surprising, are worrisome," said Dr. Ramachandran Vasan, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, who led the study.
"If the trend continues, our country will continue to face substantial health problems related to excess weight."
For the study, Vasan and colleagues studied 4,000 white adults taking part in the ongoing Framingham Heart Study, a giant, long-term study of people living in Framingham, Massachusetts.
Volunteers aged 30 to 59 were followed for 30 years, from 1971 to 2001.
Among other things the researchers measured each volunteer's body mass index or BMI -- a standard measure of weight relative to height, which is an indicator of total body fat. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered a healthy weight. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and obesity begins with a BMI of 30 or higher.
About one in five women and one in four men who were at a healthy BMI at one point became overweight after four years. Among those who were overweight, up to 23 percent of women and 13 percent of men became obese within four years.
Being "overweight and (suffering from) obesity increase the risk of poor health. We hope these results will serve as a wake-up call to Americans of all ages," Nabel said.
"Even those who are now at a healthy weight need to be careful about maintaining energy balance to avoid gaining weight. Taking simple steps to make sure that overall the number of calories you consume do not exceed the amount you burn can play a major role in lowering your risk for many chronic conditions."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that 65 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 or older are either overweight or obese and 30 percent of adults are obese.
A BMI calculator can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/bmi/calc-bmi.htm.
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