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Are 2/3 of Americans REALLY overweight/obese?

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Old 03-28-2013, 01:02 PM   #16
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I see larger people everywhere but I think it's because I look for them, if that makes any sense. I am much more aware of people's size than I ever was before my weightloss this time around. But to say that 2/3rds are overweight or obese, that does seem to be a little high to me.

Children are another story. I have never seen so many chubbier toddlers and pre-schoolers. I'm hoping it's just that I look at more babies now (baby fever!!) and that they eventually grow out of it, getting taller and more active. I never paid attention to babies as much either as I have recently.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:08 PM   #17
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America is a funny place. I came to live here from England and the food is much tastier and fattening in England than in the US. The US has burgers and pizzas. The UK has all of that plus Indian takeouts, Turkish kebabs, scotch eggs, sausage rolls, cornish pasties, fish and chips, black pudding....you name it. Mad.

So, it is actually pretty easy to eat healthier in the US than a number of other places if you choose to do so, because there simply isn't the variety of junk (I know, surprising eh?).

The real issue is exercise. Very few people walk anywhere. It's drive here and drive there. So you either have to structure your exercise by going to a gym or going for a jog rather than just integrating it into daily life which is what people in most other countries do.

I am trying to walk a lot more in the US, even if that makes me look nuts. And you can look nuts because some sidewalks just end and you have to walk on the road! That's the kind of place it is.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:12 PM   #18
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I do believe that at least half of Americans are overweight. I'm basing that on what I see on a regular basis.

Having said that, I don't think 400+ lbs is the norm in the States.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:30 PM   #19
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I think it's possible. I do also think that a lot of those people fall into the slightly overweight BMI's(as I was until few lbs ago). I don't think most people who saw me would say I was overweight(of course I have no way of knowing because who would tell me?), but I knew I was.

I think BMI is flawed for taller people or those with very low body fat.

I'm also surprised that a lot of people are seeing more overweight kids. My son is in 4th grade, and if a kid is overweight they defintely stand out. I know a lot of these kids don't have the greatest eating habits(they give my son all their fruits and veggies at lunch because they don't eat them!) but in general they don't eat to excess and the majority are in at least one sport. I think starting in middle/high school not as many do sports and I'm sure it becomes more of a problem.

As a country, our portions are way too big and we don't move enough.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:31 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by stella1609 View Post
I saw someone quote this statistic in another thread and I'm just curious--who really believes this? It's based on BMI, which is highly inaccurate on an individual basis. What about the BMI change in 1998 that made 25 million Americans overweight overnight? I know this horse has been beaten to death, but I am overweight by BMI but have 30% body fat and a 29" waist. I wear a size 8/10.

I'm not saying there's not an obesity problem, especially in children, but I think that the "epidemic" aspect is overrated. Just curious what others think
Where do you live? I lived in Sacramento area for a year and easily 2/3 of the population was overweight or obese. Where my parents live it's probably higher than that. Where I live now it's probably only 1/3. Your perception may be off based on your surroundings.

Also, I'm not saying you're wrong - but how did you come to the conclusion you're 30% body fat? Measuring body fat outside of a lab is no easy task.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:34 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Cali Doll View Post
I do believe that at least half of Americans are overweight. I'm basing that on what I see on a regular basis.

Having said that, I don't think 400+ lbs is the norm in the States.
I was in Texas XD so maybe its an area thing
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:34 PM   #22
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It seems like the focus is on thinness and not health.
I agree that sometimes the two become entwined, but I do think that "unrealistic" beauty/body standards are a completely separate issue.

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Originally Posted by Psychic View Post
To start with, I think BMI is completely false. However, I do believe there is an epidemic of obesity. Maybe its just the area I live in, but I can easily say probably 1 out of 3 people I see is overweight or obese. I don't mean just a few pounds either. I mean at least a good 50+ over a healthy weight. I'm trying to avoid becoming a statistic.
Why do you think that BMI is false? Yes, there are outliers, for example, very athletic, low body fat%, muscled people who's weight falls into the overweight range because of the way that their body is built, but truthfully that's not everyone. The BMI provides a standard measure that is accurate for most people. It works for the population in general.

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Originally Posted by immaculate View Post
The norm will vary from location to location but overall, Americans as a whole are getting less healthy and more overweight/obese.
Yes, this!

OP: No, I don't think that the obesity epidemic in the US is overstated. Not at all. Obesity related illnesses are costing us billions of dollars in health care and who knows how many people are dying prematurely because of those illnesses.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:46 PM   #23
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I'm gonna throw in my two cents:

I think this statistic is easy to misinterpret based on where you live.
I have been on both sides of the coin. Most everyone is I see is fit or most everyone I see is morbidly obese.
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:12 PM   #24
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Yes, but that is based on BMI and body weight which does not factor in anything other than whether you weigh more than a BMI of 25. My roommate (on the left) is technically a couple pounds "overweight" but she is obviously not a threat to taxpayers' health premiums - she eats healthy food, doesn't drink a lot or smoke, and swims, runs, bikes, and lifts weights. My boyfriend is almost "obese" but he's very muscular/actually "big boned" and is currently off skiing high peaks in northern Canada and goes on 20 mile/day week-long hikes - which someone who is unhealthy and unfit couldn't dream of doing.
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:28 PM   #25
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John, I've lived in South Carolina, Texas, and currently in Missouri. My body fat measurement is based on my scale so I know those aren't super accurate, but the 29" waist measurement at least isn't open to interpretation

I feel like there should be better ways to evaluate the health of a population than BMI. Or maybe there's confusion about what "healthy" really is. What about studies that show overweight people by BMI (NOT obese, just overweight) can have longer lifespans? Outliers on EITHER end of the spectrum (too thin or too fat) just have more health problems--the confusing/contradictory part for me is where that "healthy" middle ground is located. Like maybe the average American is getting heavier, but our perception of a healthy weight is getting lighter, which sets us up for health and emotional issues due to too little body fat/trying to maintain weights that aren't healthy. I hope that makes sense, lol.
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:31 PM   #26
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They were the norm for me to see when I was there. But I was only there for 4 months. But do I think americans are overweight and obese? I think a lot are. Obviously not all. But 2/3 sounds about right.
Where were you in the US? My highest weight is nearly 40 lbs shy of 400 lbs and I can tell you, I was the biggest person by a long shot in a lot of environments. I've only known 1 person personally who was 400 lbs or more and I've known a few more than were 300 lbs or more. I would say 200+ lbs isn't that unusual to see but 400+ lbs is pretty rare. You can see on this forum that we have a variety of people and sizes but I could probably count on 1 hand how many are 400+ and this is forum populated mostly by Americans (with some Canadians, UKers, and others around as well).
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:35 PM   #27
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What about studies that show overweight people by BMI (NOT obese, just overweight) can have longer lifespans?
Yeah, there are a lot of chronic conditions where you're dead without a few more pounds. Cancer can be one of them. There is no ideal weight, it's just the extremes that cause the problems. The rest is vanity.
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:35 PM   #28
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Overweight and obesity is actually a pandemic... the problem goes far beyond just the United States unfortunately...
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:36 PM   #29
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Where were you in the US? My highest weight is nearly 40 lbs shy of 400 lbs and I can tell you, I was the biggest person by a long shot in a lot of environments. I've only known 1 person personally who was 400 lbs or more and I've known a few more than were 300 lbs or more. I would say 200+ lbs isn't that unusual to see but 400+ lbs is pretty rare. You can see on this forum that we have a variety of people and sizes but I could probably count on 1 hand how many are 400+ and this is forum populated mostly by Americans (with some Canadians, UKers, and others around as well).
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:39 PM   #30
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By the medical definitions of obesity? Absolutely. I think that statistic is on the low side for many parts of the country now, in fact. Our eyes are skewed on size - I look very normal for the population, even on the 'fit' side, and am on the high end of the overweight BMI for my height and frame. Everywhere I look I see excess body fat in varying degrees on folks - very few people that would be classed as 'normal' size a decade ago (they now look super skinny to me!).
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