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Obese Americans outnumber the overweight

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - The average American woman now weighs as much as the average American man weighed in 1960. The past 55 years also created a population where obese Americans now outnumber those overweight.

Americans are now the world's third heaviest people, trailing the Pacific Islands of Tonga and Micronesia. An average U.S. adult is 33 pounds heavier than an average Frenchman and 70 pounds heavier than an average person in Bangladesh.

Dr. Lin Yang, a Washington University School of Medicine researcher, joins us to talk about this growing epidemic.

  • African Americans had the highest rates of obesity among both men (39%) and women (57%).
  • Researchers found that 17% of black women and 7% of black men were extremely obese, meaning their body mass index was over 40.
  • Among the group labeled Mexican Americans, 38% of men and 43% of women were obese.
  • For whites, 35% of men and 34% of women were obese.
  • Rates of overweight and obesity were comparable for younger (ages 25 to 54) and older (ages 55 and up) adults, according to the study.