The number of ‘severely’ obese Americans skyrocketed by about 70 percent in a decade making those who weigh over 100lbs, the fastest growing group among the overweight population.
A new study authored by researchers at RAND, found that between 2000 and 2010 obesity rates rose from 3.9 percent to 6.6 percent, figures that translate into the millions when it comes to individual cases.
In the U.S., the study shows, 15million adults have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more but researchers were pleased to see that despite the near-exponential increase in extreme obesity, by 2005 this growth had begun to level off.
Roland Sturm, lead author of the report and a senior economist at RAND explained the findings in a press release, saying: ‘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.
‘But for the first time in the past 20 years there is evidence the trend is slowing.’
The RAND study was based on the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS), an annual survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to track health risks in the United States.
The results of the study, published online by the International Journal of Obesity, revealed that across ethnicities and genders, the trend remained constant.
Among women the prevalence of obesity was 50 percent higher than in men and when compared to Hispanics or white, numbers were twice as high among blacks.
For all levels of obesity, the increases over time were faster among adults younger than 40 according to the answers of 3million survey respondents.
To be categorised as severely obese, a person must have a BMI of 40 or more while moderately obese individuals have a BMI of 30 and those classified as overweight measure 25-29.
According to RAND, a typical severely obese man weighs 300lbs at a height of 5ft 10in tall, while the typical severely obese woman weighs 250lbs at a height of 5ft 4in.