Bad news: Americans are still getting fatter

The National Center for Health Statistics released its latest study on obesity among Americans Friday as measured by Body-Mass Index (BMI) a ratio of height to weight. What the study found is that Americans are heavier than ever, with 40% of adults qualifying as obese. From CNN:

Since 1999, there has been a staggering rise in the prevalence of obesity, particularly in adults, without any “signs of it slowing down,” according to the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Craig Hales, medical epidemiologist at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…

What is “very striking” about this information is that there has been a 30% increase in adult obesity and 33% increase in youth obesity from 1999-2000 data to 2015-16, despite government-focused efforts to address the issue, according to Michael W. Long, assistant professor at the Milken Institute of School Public Health at George Washington University.

From the study, here’s a graph showing the trend since 1999:

That graph is only showing those who qualify as obese, i.e. a BMI over 30. If you include those who qualify as overweight then 70.7% of Americans are either overweight or obese. There’s a pretty significant racial disparity in the results, with blacks and Hispanics significantly above the national average and white Americans slightly below it. But by far the most noticeable outlier is Asian Americans whose obesity rates are about 1/3 that of other groups. Again, here’s a chart from the study:

Does this mean I have to start liking sushi? Honestly, I’ve tried and I can eat it but I still don’t enjoy it. But clearly, Asian Americans are doing something right with regard to diet or exercise or both that most of the rest of us are not. The study doesn’t speculate on any reasons for the findings but NBC News offers this:

A recent study by epidemiologists at Georgia Southern University discovered that fewer Americans, particularly women, are trying to lose weight. Public health experts say that an unhealthy diet and the lack of exercise are still the two biggest culprits.

“There’s still a huge amount of cheap, accessible, highly processed food available everywhere almost anytime,” says Hu. “And despite people doing more recreational activity these days, the overall activity level, household activity and occupational activity has decreased in recent years.”

So there’s the bad news. As a country, like Leon, we’re getting larger: