Friday, July 24, 2009

CDC Addresses Obesity in the U.S.

A July 24, 2009 report released by the CDC entitled Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity in the United States, html version or (pdf version) contains some rather alarming statistics. Approximately two thirds of adults and one fifth of children in the United States are overweight. An estimated 33% of adults are classifed overweight with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25-29, 34% are classified obese with a BMI of 30 or greater, and nearly 6% are classified extremely obese with a BMI of 40 or greater. About 17% of children and adolescents fall above the 95 percentile of sex-specific BMI for age growth charts.

The CDC is concerned because being overweight or obese increases the risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers. To help communities promote healthier eating and active living behaviors, the CDC has initiated the Common Community Measures for Obesity Prevention Project which recommends a set of 24 strategies and measurements for communities to use to "plan and monitor environmental and policy-level changes for obesity prevention." The 24 strategies fall under six general strategies:

  • promote the availability of affordable healthy food and beverages
  • support healthy food and beverage choices
  • encourage breastfeeding
  • encourage physical activity or limit sedentary activity among children and youth
  • create safe communities that support physical activity
  • encourage communities to organize for change.