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CDC: Americans Have Packed On Pounds in 23 Years

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, July 18, 2008 1:33 AM EST
Category: On The Road, Major Medical, Protecting Your Family, In The Workplace
Tags: Obesity, Heart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes, Medical Costs

Obesity rates released by the CDC, the south is the worst.

Coffee 20 Years Ago - 45 Calories              Coffee Today - 350 Calories



IMAGE SOURCE: Portion Distortion from CDC 2008


Back when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began surveying Americans to find out obesity rates, there were no states with an obesity rate of more than 14 %.  Most were less than 10%.

Fast forward 23 years. Now there are only four states with an obesity rate less than 20%.

The CDC is reporting its latest data on just how fat we are becoming.

Just between 2005 to 2007 the obesity rate rose two percent.  

The national average for obesity is 25.6 percent. That means more than one in four Americans is considered not just overweight but obese - the largest number of obese since the survey began 40 years ago.

The fittest people are in Colorado with a 19 percent obesity rate.  The other end of the scale with 32 percent obesity is Mississippi, followed by Alabama and Tennessee.

Obesity is more prevalent in the South at 27%, while the West had the lowest rates of obesity at 23.1 percent.

No states met the national objectives set by Healthy People 2010, a goal of 15 percent obesity. 30 states were 10 or more percentage points away.

The numbers come from 350,000 phone surveys conducted last year. The data is self reported.  The CDC opted not to rank the states because there was not much difference between some.

Obesity or fitness was determined by using a Body Mass Index or BMI. Obesity is calculated as an energy imbalance over a long period of time – too many calories in and not enough out.

Due to the dramatic rise in obesity in the U.S., genetics are not thought to be a dominant a factor.

"Despite obesity having strong genetic determinants, the genetic composition of the population does not change rapidly. Therefore, the large increase in . . . [obesity] must reflect major changes in non-genetic factors," according to a report published in Pediatrics (1998) by James Hill and Frederick Trowbridge. 

Denatured foods high in fat, sugar, and calories are the staple of many American diets.

Portion Distortion Quiz 

Portion size has also increased. This CDC quiz shows portions 20 years ago compared to 2004. 

For example, a tall latte (16 ounces) with milk and sugar is about 350 calories. A cup of coffee (8 ounces) from 20 years ago was 45 calories. 

You have to walk an hour and twenty minutes to walk off that cup of coffee. 

A big blueberry muffin (5 ounce) is a whopping 500 calories, 310 more than a blueberry muffin of 20 years ago and it will take vacuuming an hour and a half to burn it off. 

Pizza today is about 350 calories more for two slices than 20 years ago.  

A big tub of movie popcorn?  Today its 630 calories about twice that of the past.

Obesity is linked to cancers, diabetes and heart disease, which can increase the cost of medical care and the burden on states and the nation as a whole. 

How Obesity Has Changed

This dramatic animation by the CDC shows just how fast Americans have grown fat.

  • 1985, the first year the CDC began tracking trends, there were a dozen states with obesity rates less than 10%.  Only eight states had obesity rates in the 10-14% range. No states had more than 14% of the population obese.
  • In 1990, the CDC reports among states participating, 10 states had a prevalence of obesity less than 10% and no states had prevalence equal to or greater than 15%.
  • By 1998, the CDC reports, no state had prevalence less than 10%, seven states had a prevalence of obesity between 20-24%, and no state had prevalence equal to or greater than 25%.
  • In 2006, only four states had a prevalence of obesity less than 20% (Colorado, New Hampshire, Vermont, Hawaii). 22 states had a prevalence equal or greater than 25%. Two states (Mississippi and West Virginia) had a prevalence of obesity equal to or greater than 30%.  #


Anonymous User
Posted by Alan Richardson
Friday, July 18, 2008 2:53 AM EST

I came across this cookbook on the internet. It looks great with lots of good recipes. I bought the book a while ago and thought it helped my. Now I get it out for simple and great food ideas.

Anonymous User
Posted by Alan Richardson
Friday, July 18, 2008 2:55 AM EST


Anonymous User
Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, July 18, 2008 9:17 PM EST

Hello Alan-

Thanks so much for the alkalinity cook book information. Here in the states, we take supplements to make our system more alkaline... a change in diet makes much more sense.
Here is the URL in case people are interested:


Comments for this article are closed.

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