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June 7, 2016

The Unrelenting Challenge of Obesity

Author Affiliations
  • 1Dr Zylke is Deputy Editor and Dr Bauchner is Editor in Chief, JAMA
JAMA. 2016;315(21):2277-2278. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.6190

In this issue of JAMA, Flegal and colleagues1 and Ogden and colleagues2 report updated findings related to the prevalence of obesity in the United States. The news is neither good nor surprising. Using 2013-2014 data from 5455 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 35.0% of men were obese (BMI ≥30) and 5.5% were morbidly obese (BMI≥40); among adult women, 40.4% were obese and 9.9% were morbidly obese. These prevalences are unchanged since 2005 among men and represent a slight increase in obesity among women. The data for children are similar. Based on 7017 youth 2 to 19 years old in 2011-2014, the prevalence of obesity was 17.0% and extreme obesity 5.8%. Obesity rates have decreased in children aged 2 to 5 years since 2003-2004, stabilized in 6- to 11-year-olds since 2007-2008, but steadily increased among adolescents since 1988.

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