The Physics
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Number of Obese People in the US

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Bibliographic Entry Result
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Rationale-Guidelines on overweight and obesity. Electronic textbook. NHLBI-National heart,lung and blood institute. 20 May 2006. "An estimated 97 million adults in the United States are overweight or obese." 97,000,000
Ogden, Cynthia L., Margaret D. Carrol, Lester R. Cortin, Margaret A. McDowell, Carolyn J. Tabok and Katherine M. Flegal. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in the Unites States, 1999-2004. JAMA-Journal of the American Medical Association, 295 (2006): 1549-1555. "In 2003-2004, 17.1% of US children and adolescents were overweight and 32.2% of adults were obese" 94,000,000
Prevalence of overweight and obesity among adults: United States, 1999-2002. National Center for Health and Statistics (2004). "From 1976 to 1980, 15 percent of US adults age 20-74 were obese". 34,000,000
Childhood obesity: Trends and potential causes. Future of Children. 20 May 2006. "The percentage of adults who were overweight or obese from 1971-1974 was 13 percent." 22,000,000

It's not a small world after all!

Is it really a small world after all? I think not!, considering the fact that the most commonly purchased woman's dress size in the United States is a 14. When compared to 1985 when the most purchased dress size was an 8, this statement is not just utterly surprising but it is also a bit scary to say the least!

Obesity is defined as a condition that occurs when there is an excessive amount of fat stored in the body which increases the risk factors of other health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes(type 2), sleep apnea and osteoarthritis. In addition, obesity is also the cause for certain types of cancers. Important facts to keep in mind considering the fact that obesity is responsible for 300,000 deaths every year!

The most widely accepted calculation of excess body fat for human beings is the "body mass index (BMI)". The BMI is calculated by dividing the subject's weight in kilograms by the square of his/her height in meters

BMI = W/h2

A BMI ranging from 25 b to 29.99 is characterized as overweight (pre-obese), one in the range of 30 to 34.99 is characterized as obese and one of 35 or higher is considered severely obese.

The US is officially experiencing an obesity epidemic. In 2001 the Centers for Disease control (CDC), using a report of body mass index determined that 21 percent of the population was obese that's almost twice as much as the mere 12 percent in 1991. What is causing such high rates of obesity among Americans? This is a question for which there is no right answer. Obesity is caused by lack of activity which can be linked to video games, television and the accessibility of so many technological resources such as cars. It can also be linked to the changing workforce of which a greater percentage of workers spend the day in an office environment, the lower cost of foods and perhaps the biggest cause is the increased marketing for less healthier foods such as sweets and fast foods. Since 1980 both sit-ins and fast food restaurants have seen dramatic growth in terms of the number of outlets and customers served. Low food cost, and intense competition for market share led to increased portion sizes. In other words, Americans are no longer eating to live but instead they are living to eat!

Who knows if the number of obese adults keeps expanding at this rate, grandparents may soon be fitter than grandchildren, so the next time someone demands that you put the cigarette down don't hesitate to tell them to drop the fry!

Yuliana León -- 2006