From the desk of: Dr. Trent Peng, MS, DC
A new study has recently been published from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS, part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention) showing body weight status and trends of obesity in U.S. adults and youth.
The National Center for Health Statistics, which performs surveillance of disease rates and reports at regular intervals, has had obesity on their radar for years. There are several important findings (regarding adults) I will point out in this blog, and present them in a “good news, bad news” format. Which one do you want first?
First, we need to define what we are looking at. How is one considered overweight or obese? The objective standard remains the Body Mass Index (BMI), which is your weight relative to your height. Although there are exceptions to the rule (ie. short but muscular bodybuilders will be incorrectly considered overweight/obese by BMI), height and weight are proportional in most of the population (ie. you are not considered overweight if you are 6’3″, 180 lbs versus 5’4″, 180 lbs), so it is still the most utilized tool to assess obesity. The most common BMI categories are listed as follows:
- BMI < 18.5 – Underweight
- BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 – Normal weight
- BMI between 25 and 29.9 – Overweight
- BMI 30 or higher – Obese
(To calculate your own BMI, click here and you can plug in your own height and weight to get your BMI).
This study was analyzed by the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survery (NHANES), a large-scale, national survey which performed extensive interviews as well as physical examinations on the sampled and is conducted yearly. Weight and height were objectively measured to arrive at the BMI statistics. This study looked at most recent data, 2011-2014, and compared to previous data points of 1999-2000 and 2003-2004. First, the good news:
- The prevalence of obesity has remained “stable” between 2003-2004 and 2011-2014, according to the researchers.
That’s the good news. There have been no significant increase in obesity (statistically) since 2003-2004. Now, the bad news:
- Just because there wasn’t significant increase in obesity the past 10 years, it does not mean there was no increase. The proportion of obesity in US adults has been increasing every year, just rising slower.
- The same authors also did similar analyses in 2007-2008, and 2011-2012 (2, 3), and I will put them side by side to illustrate my point above:
|Obesity (%)||2007-08||2011-12||2011-14 (average)||2013-2014|
So, just looking from left to right, it’s not hard to see the proportions of obesity has been steadily rising over time. The trend is similar both in men and in women. Also, it was already a bad percentage in 2007-08, with more than 1/3 of the population classified as obese. The number is now approaching 40%. Epidemic proportion, no?
It is obvious that our US government has been tracking the obesity epidemic (these surveys are US government property), and they have implemented various programs over the years. One such program is shown below:
Yes, the original Food Pyramid, the ultimate fat-bashing and all-you-can-eat carbs pyramid. When that didn’t work, we shifted to the “MyPyramid”:
When this 7-pyramid-in-one confusing mess was mostly neglected by the public, the government came up with yet another plan, MyPlate:
While an upgrade over previous versions, MyPlate shares some similar traits to its predecessors, traits that promote weight loss failures:
- The concept that eating “healthy” or “balanced” will help you lose weight. This is NOT TRUE.
- The abundance of grains, fruits and vegetables. While there are health benefits with these foods, they all belong to a food group of carbohydrates. Look at MyPlate again, it looks like >75% of MyPlate consists of carbohydrates (one of many problems with the MyPlate diagram)!
My point is, there is a reason the proportions of overweight and obesity continue to rise, and the way to control it is NOT eating a “balanced diet” or “lots of fruits and vegetables”. The diet needs to be unbalanced in a healthy, controlled manner, in order to achieve effective, consistent weight loss. In my next post I will talk about the ketogenic diet, a scientifically proven, effective diet that forms the basis of the diet program (Ideal Protein) at our clinic. And this diet does what I just said: an unbalanced but healthy way of eating that promotes loss of body fat. Stay tuned.
PS. In the weekly workshop conducted at our clinic, Pflugerville Wellness Center, I go over details of the Ideal Protein program and how it helps people lose weight effectively. Please call (512) 251-9686 if you are interested in attending the FREE workshop.
- Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., Kit, B. K., Fryar, C. D., & Flegal, K. M. (2015). Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youth: United States, 2011-2014. NCHS Data Brief, No. 219 (November 2015), 1-8.
- Flegal, K., Carroll, M., Ogden, C., & Curtin, L. (2010). Prevalence and trends in obesity among US adults, 1999-2008. Jama, 303(3), 235–241.
- Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., Kit, B. K., & Flegal, K. M. (2014). Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. JAMA : The Journal of the American Medical Association, 311(8), 806–14.