Importance Of Evaluating Obesity In Clinical Practice

Epidemiology of Obesity

The prevalence of obesity has increased dramatically over the past 30 yr. From 1985 to 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined the prevalence of obesity by self-report across the country through the Behavioral Risk Factor

From: Contemporary Endocrinology: Treatment of the Obese Patient Edited by: R. F. Kushner and D. H. Bessesen © Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ

Surveillance System (BRFSS). Despite the fact that self-reported weights underestimate the true prevalence of obesity, the CDC obesity maps (www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/ obesity/trend/maps/) document a dramatic rise in obesity in every state of the country over the past 20 yr. More accurate composite data on the prevalence of obesity in the United States come from a series of studies that directly measured height and weight in carefully selected, nationally representative samples of adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). In the most recent NHANES report from 2001 to 2002, the prevalence of overweight or obesity among adults was 65.7%. The prevalence of obesity (body mass index [BMI] > 30 kg/m2) was 30.6% and the prevalence of severe obesity (BMI > 40) was 5.1% (1). Perhaps even more troubling were the numbers for children and adolescents. Among young people age 6 to 19, 31.5% were at risk for overweight and 16.5% were overweight.

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