More American Women Are Obese Than Ever Before

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New studies find that women and teens continue to struggle with obesity, while men are beginning to hold their ground in the fight against flab.

Women and teens continue to struggle with obesity, while men are beginning to hold their ground in the fight against flab.

A study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that during 2013 and 2014, 40 percent of American women were obese, the highest percentage ever recorded. The rate of obesity among women gradually climbed between 2006 and 2014.

Meanwhile, 35 percent of American men were obese. While that number remains alarming, it did not change between 2006 and 2014.

Overall, nearly 38 percent of American adults were obese in 2014. That number is up from 34 percent who were obese in 2006.

A separate study published in JAMA found that in the period of 2011-14, 17 percent of children and teens qualified as obese.

Trends were mixed, with obesity increasing for children in some age groups (ages 12-19), and leveling off (ages 6 to 11) or even decreasing (ages 2 to 5) among other age groups.

A JAMA editorial headlined “The Unrelenting Challenge of Obesity” noted that the development of drugs and new procedures is unlikely to solve the problem of obesity and that “more immediate solutions are needed.” According to the editorial:

The emphasis has to be on prevention, despite evidence that school- and community-based prevention programs and education campaigns by local governments and professional societies have not been highly successful.

The editorial recommends that obesity prevention efforts begin with women of childbearing age, noting that many reports have found a link between maternal obesity and offspring birth weight, “which in turn is associated with childhood obesity.”

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Stacy Johnson

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