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Fighting fat: Study finds obesity rates leveling off

December 1, 2007
by Tenisha Waldo
The Post & Courier

Good news: A recent study suggests Americans, especially women, aren't packing on any more pounds than they have in recent years. But don't ditch your diet just yet. The bad news is that while Americans aren't more obese than they have been lately, an alarming number more than 72 million people are still battling the bulge. "A third of our adult population is obese; that's a lot," said Cynthia Ogden, an epidemiologist and lead author of the study released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study found obesity rates in women have leveled off since 1999 and that obesity rates among men may be following a similar trend, though the prevalence of obesity among males slightly increased until 2003 but then leveled off in the subsequent years. After a quarter century of more and more people counted as obese, do the study's findings suggest there may be a new status quo or that it's OK to not lose weight, as long as you don't gain any pounds? Dr. Jairy Hunter, medical director of Coastal Inpatient Physicians, affiliated with Trident Health Systems, said this week that the answer is, basically, "No." In South Carolina, more than one of every four adults is considered obese, making the state the fifth-heaviest in the nation, according to the Trust for America's Health, a research group that focuses on disease prevention. The Palmetto State tied with Tennessee for the fifth spot.

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