Majority of Americans Becoming Overweight or Obese

Thirty-year survey showed nine out of 10 men packed on excess pounds

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TUESDAY, Oct. 4, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Over the three decades between 1971 and 2001, nine out of 10 American men and seven out of 10 women were overweight or became overweight, and more than a third were obese or became obese, according to a new study.

The findings from the study of more than 4,000 white adults enrolled in the ongoing Framingham Heart Study suggest the vast majority of American adults are at risk of becoming overweight or obese.

"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. In addition, these results may underestimate the risk for some ethnic groups," Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel, director of the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), said in a prepared statement.

The NHLBI supported the study, published in the Oct. 4 issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

"Our results, although not surprising, are worrisome," study lead author Dr. Ramachandran Vasan, associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement. "If the trend continues, our country will continue to face substantial health problems related to excess weight."

Being overweight and obese increases the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, asthma and other breathing problems, osteoarthritis, gall bladder disease, and some forms of cancer, experts say.

"We hope these results will serve as a wake-up call to Americans of all ages," Nabel added.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about weight control.

SOURCE: U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, news release, Oct. 3, 2005

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