Most Americans considered overweight
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DECEMBER 15, 2000

It may put a damper on the upcoming holiday season, but the 61 percent of Americans who are considered overweight or obese might want to watch their cookie consumption this Christmas.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday reported initial results from the 1999 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. According to the survey, the number of overweight or obese Americans is on the rise.

About 35 percent of Americans are considered overweight, up from 33 percent from 1988 to 1994. An additional 26 percent are considered obese, up from 23 percent.

These classifications were made by measuring the height and height of 1,615 people over the age of 20. These numbers were then used to calculate each person's body-mass index (BMI). A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight; a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

Although being overweight and obese is an issue on its own, it can also lead to other diseases and health problems. For Native Americans, being overweight puts them at an increased risk to Type 2 diabetes and with more American Indians and Alaska Natives developing diabetes at a younger age, health experts have expressed growing concerns about the well-being of Indian Country.

"Over the last 20 or 30 years, the age at which people are getting diabetes or developing symptoms of diabetes is getting younger and younger," said Dr. Clifton Poodry, a health director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). "This is certainly a very disturbing trend."

Poodry says the key to combating diabetes and other health problems is to change behaviors. Eating less, eating healthy, and exercising can help reduce weight problems among Native Americans.

More on the Health Survey:
Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity Among Adults: United States, 1999 (NCHS December 2000)

Calculate your BMI:
Body Mass Index Calculation (

Related Stories:
Center to study health disparities (The Medicine Wheel 11/01)
Diet, exercise key to diabetes (The Medicine Wheel 10/25)
Diabetes in children increases (The Medicine Wheel 08/25)
You might be obese and not know it (The Medicine Wheel 09/18)

Relevant Links:
The Fat Project
The Pressure to Eat
Top 10 Exercise Myths
The National Center for Health Statistics
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -

Only on Indianz.Com:
Diabetes Links and Resources (The Medicine Wheel 4/10)