US obesity rates unchanged from a decade ago, CDC says

High US obesity rates have remained that way in recent years, according to new data released Tuesday.

More than one-third of adults (35.7 percent) and almost 17 percent of children were found to be obese in 2009-2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Tuesday, representing little change from 2003.

The research was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"There's been no change in the prevalence of obesity in recent years in children or adults," CNN quoted Cynthia L Ogden, Ph.D, an epidemiologist with the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics and the leading author of the report, as saying. "But I think looking over the last decade, it's interesting to see how the prevalence of obesity in men has caught up with the prevalence of obesity in women."

According to Reuters, the figures showed a slight increase in obesity rates among specific demographics since the late 1990s and early 2000s.

While obesity rates in men were similar across races, that wasn't the case in women: 32 percent of white women were obese, compared to almost 59 percent of black women… Mexican American women, who also had slightly higher obesity rates in 2009 and 2010 than a decade earlier.

Slight increases were also seen among white, black and Hispanic men, CBS News reported.

Obesity was also more common among teens than preschool aged children and among boys than girls, CNN reported..

However, researchers were encouraged by the results: based on the increase in US obesity rates throughout the 1980s and 1990s, some had predicted that those trends would continue into the next century.

"I'm not very surprised, but I think this is a kind of encouraging finding, given all the efforts we have been making," Dr. Youfa Wang, head of the Johns Hopkins Global Center for Childhood Obesity in Baltimore, told Reuters. "The general public for sure nowadays has become more aware of the health consequences of obesity, and industry has been heavily influenced by all the efforts."

Ogden, said: "It's good that we didn't see increases. On the other hand, we didn't see any decreases in any group."

"This is a good news story but this is not the end of the story," CNN quoted Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, Dean of the School of Medicine and Executive Vice President of Morehouse College, as saying. "We cannot feel good… until we see a decrease in the prevalence of obesity," says Dr. Montgomery Rice.

The government says a healthy weight is a BMI of between 18 and 25. The index is a ratio of height to weight.

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