Increase in Prevalence of Obesity

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III, which was conducted from 1988 to 1994, showed that 59.4% of men and 50.7% of women in the United States are overweight or obese. In the period between the second NHANES survey and the third, the prevalence of obesity rose from 14.5% to 22.5% (7). More recent data has put the figure at 30.5% for obesity and 64.5% for overweight (8). Obesity is also increasing rapidly in other parts of the world (8). Global obesity increased from an estimated 200 million adults in 1995 to more than 300 million in 2000 (9). Childhood obesity has also increased. During the past 30 yr, childhood obesity in the United States has more than doubled (10). As obesity increases, it leads to an increased disease burden (11,12), increased mortality (13), and a shortened life span (14). It brings with it not only an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes, but also of dyslipidemia, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.

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