Written by Heather Martino.
America’s obesity epidemic extends all the way to Nassau County, with obesity rates at 30.3 percent for men and 28.7 percent women in 2011, up from 22.7 percent for men 20.7 percent for women in 2001.
Obesity in New York state overall increased 7.3 percentage points to 26.9 percent for men and 6.9 percentage points to 33.8 percent for women from 2001 to 2011.
In 2011, obesity prevalence for both genders in the U.S. ranged from 20.7 percent in Colorado to 34.9 percent in Mississippi, according to the CDC.
The county figures on the map were obtained from a recent study from the University of Washington, which found that nationwide women are more obese than their male counterparts. The study found that nationwide 28.7 percent of men were obese in 2011, compared to 36.1 percent of women.
According to the CDC, obesity affects more than one-third of adults, or 35.7 percent of the population in the United States. Obesity is calculated by measuring a person’s height and weight, and deriving at a ratio called the body mass index, or BMI. This number often correlates to an individual’s amount of body fat, and is used to ascertain whether a person is considered underweight, a normal weight, overweight or obese.
Obese individuals have a 50 to 100 increased increased risk of premature death, and it’s estimated that obesity may be the cause of 300,000 deaths per year according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Interestingly, Americans claim to be exercising more during the same time period that obesity climbed.
“Around the country, you can see huge increases in the percentage of people becoming physically active, which research tells us is certain to have health benefits,” said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray in a press release. Murray added that “If communities in the US can replicate this success and tackle the ongoing obesity impact, it will see more substantial health gains.”
The good news is that there may be silver lining to America’s fat epidemic. While we’re still getting fatter, at least it’s happening at a slower rate than in past years. And if this rate continues to drop, Nassau might soon be reporting slimmer, healthier residents.