Obesity rates up in adults, stable in youth

2 min read

The rate of obesity in U.S. adults continues to rise while the rate for youth has leveled off, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on November 11, 2015. The new findings show that since 2003, adult obesity has risen from 30% to 38%. Over the same time period, the obesity rate for youth ages 2 to 19 has held steady at around 17%.

Although some public health experts found the stable youth obesity rate encouraging, others were disappointed that efforts to improve school lunches and reduce sugary beverage consumption have not made more of an impact. The findings for adults were also disappointing. As recently as last year, experts thought that this rate was starting to decline.

“We thought maybe what we’re doing in adults is reaching enough people,” Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, told STAT. “It clearly is not.”

Walter Willett, chairman of the School’s nutrition department, told the New York Times that modest improvements in Americans’ diets, noted in a paper he recently co-authored, were mostly found among higher-income, more educated people.

“In general, there’s been a big gap” between rich and poor, Willett said.