Gallup: Americans still fat

Despite First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, Americans continue to be remarkably fat.

New Gallup data shows that “Americans were as likely to be obese in 2012 as they were in 2011.”

The obesity rate in America is 26.2 percent, slightly higher than the 2008 level of 25.5 percent. On top of that, another 36.1 percent of Americans were overweight in 2012, while only 35.9 percent were classified as a normal weight.

Gallup’s numbers reinforce figures from the Center for Disease Control, that puts the obesity rate of U.S. adults at a higher 35.7 percent. The difference can be likely explained with people feeling less comfortable admitting to being obese over the phone with a pollster. The CDC’s methods of surveying are more direct and involve home visits and standardized physical exams.

Overall, the CDC’s numbers put obesity rates between 10 to 15 percent higher than Gallup’s numbers.

“Under the Affordable Care Act, all adults with an insurance policy beginning on or after Sept. 23, 2010, are entitled to an obesity screening and counseling at no cost,” the Gallup report states, though it also notes that “Government programs and policies are not the only solution to the obesity epidemic in the United States.

The Department of Health and Human Services writes of obesity: “The good news is even a small weight loss (between 5 and 10 percent of your current weight) will help lower your risk of developing those diseases.” Those diseases include diabetes and heart problems.

Concern over the obesity problem in America is growing as the Affordable Care Act is implemented and the high medical costs associated with being overweight get added to the system. The Center for Disease Control estimated that the cost associated with obesity in 2008 was $147 billion.

“Obese men rack up an additional $1,152 a year in medical spending. … Obese women account for an extra $3,613 a year,” Reuters reported.

Simultaneously, advocacy groups have formed surrounding the idea of ending size discrimination and take issue with the notion that being overweight adds any additional health care cost.

Obesity affects minority and socioeconomic groups differently. Blacks,  aged 45 to 64, and low-income Americans “continue to be the most likely to be classified as obese, as has been the case since 2008,” Gallup writes.

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