New research found that obesity in America has risen in the past years and that chubby people are not interested in losing weight. The research was published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association by investigators from Georgia Southern University.
Their findings show that the prevalence of adults in the United States who were overweight or obese rose from 53 percent in 1988 to 66 percent in 2014. The study also showed that the prevalence of overweight individuals that had tried to lose weight in the past year fell from 56 percent in 1988 to 49 percent in 2014.
The study’s lead author Dr. Jian Zhang, an associate professor of epidemiology at Georgia Southern University, believes that there are several reasons for this change, with social acceptance for overweight individuals being at the top.
“Socially accepted normal body weight is shifting toward heavier weight. As more people around us are getting heavier, we simply believe we are fine, and no need to do anything with it”, Zhang explains, according to CBS Sacramento.
A growing percentage
The research based on the data provided by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a federal survey that evaluates the diet of children and adults in the United States.
The study relies on data provided by the participants rather than follow-up medical reports. They have a physical examination for members, but the survey is mostly based on health related questions.
Every participant is asked if they’ve tried losing weight in the past year, a question in particular that helped to shed light on the findings.
The study focused on a period from 1988 to 2014 and analyzed the health and eating habits of over 27,000 individuals aged between 20 and 59 years, all of them diagnosed with overweight or obesity based on their BMI (body mass index).
The body mass index measures height and weight to determine whether a person has overweight or not. Having a BMI between 25 and 29 is considered as overweight, and having a BMI of 30 or more qualifies as obesity.
One of the most affected groups by overweight and obesity are black women, with overweight prevalence rising 35 percent in the period between 1988 and 1954, to 55 percent between 2009 and 2014.
Furthermore, 66 percent of obese black women between 1988 and 1994 reported that they were trying or had tried to lose weight, a percentage that plummeted to 55 percent between 2009 and 2014.
The study showed that white women are also losing interest in weight loss. 73 percent of white women were trying or had tried to lose weight, whereas only 62 percent reported the same interest between 2009 and 2014.
Researchers found that the percentage of overweight and obesity grew over the past three decades in both men and women, and it increased in all major racial groups.
Lack of interest
Zhang explains that the study didn’t focus on explaining the drop in obese individuals trying to lose weight, but they suggest some possible reasons. He believes that some people try to lose pounds and fail or don’t lose as much as they’d like to, which makes them give up and stop trying.
He also believes that some health care providers that don’t bring up weight issues with their patients can have a link to the problem because people don’t feel the need to stay healthy to be insured.
Researchers believe that being overweight or obese is increasingly becoming more accepted in the American society, and healthier lifestyles are being overlooked.
Zhang says that it’s positive that obese Americans are being accepted and understood because it means that fewer people feel bad or ridiculed for their weight.
He believes it’s a serious matter because obesity can increase the risk for some diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart-related diseases, to name a few.
What to do now?
Zhang believes that changing eating habits amongst Americans is crucial and that more needs to be done to prevent weight gain in children across the country.
He suggests that kids need to be educated regarding health and proper dieting, by their teachers in schools and their family at home.
Educating the young ones so they don’t develop obesity in the future is of most importance to researchers because the findings from the study are “a very serious concern” according to Zhang.
He insists that a healthy lifestyle may be the way to go for people wanting to lose weight, as well as improve their health. The study showed that obesity and overweight are on the rise in America, and eating habits need to be developed to guarantee health.
Source: Live Science