Morbidly Obese Making U.S. Fatter, Quicker
October 2, 2012

The Morbidly Obese Are Making Our Nation Fatter More Quickly

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

America has often been teased about our expanding waistlines and bulging bellies. Our affinity for cheap food fast, and lots of it, has brought us to a point where more than one-third of American adults are obese. This includes having Body Mass Indexes of 30 or more, according to the CDC.

Though we may be getting fat on cheaper food, we´re paying more in medical costs to keep us upright. According to a recent survey, obese Americans spent $1,429 more in medical costs than a normal, healthy person. That obesity is an epidemic is a well-known fact these days. Today, a new study by the RAND Corporation reveals that not only is America getting fatter, the majority of us are pushing our way into the severely obese category rather than becoming moderately overweight.

The RAND Corporation, a not-for-profit research group, analyzed data from 2000 to 2010 to complete their study and found that the number of severely obese Americans increased by an alarming 70%, from 3.9% of the population to 6.6%. According to RAND, there are now more than 15 million American adults who are considered morbidly obese with a BMI of 40 or more. If there was a silver lining, the RAND corporation says that this extreme growth began to slow in 2005 and has since leveled out.

“The proportion of people at the high end of the weight scale continues to increase faster than any other group of obese people, despite increased public attention on the risks of obesity,” said lead author Roland Sturm in a statement. Sturm is a senior economist at RAND.

“But for the first time in the past 20 years there is evidence the trend is slowing.”

This study also suggests that clinical, severe obesity is not a special condition which only special, “genetically vulnerable” people are capable of contracting. Instead, obesity affects us all as a nation, and as we ever quickly tip the scales, it´s the most extreme cases which are tipping us over the edge the fastest.

Obesity was up among all genders and races, though the amount varied from group to group. According to their research, RAND found that women were 50% more likely to be severely obese than their male counterparts. Furthermore, blacks were also more likely to be severely obese than hispanics or whites. No matter the sex or race, people over 40 were the fastest growing group of the severely obese.

A BMI score of 40 or more classifies a person as severely obese. In an adult man, this means they are roughly 100 pounds overweight for their height. In their research, the RAND corporation found that the average morbidly obese man weighed 300 pounds and stood 5 feet and 10 inches tall. The typical morbidly obese woman was 5 feet and 4 inches tall and weighed in at 250 pounds.

Those with a BMI score of 25 to 29 are considered overweight, while a score of 30 or more places that person in the obese category.

For the same, 5 foot 10 inch male, a BMI of 30 means they are 35 pounds overweight.

Reducing BMI is relatively easy by eating smaller portions of healthier food and becoming more active, as often as possible.