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Obesity an epidemic in the United States University of Cincinnati Obesity an epidemic in the United States According to surveys done by various organizations including the Center for Disease Control the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys NHANES and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System BRFSS obesity in the United States is a serious and growing epidemic In the United States approximately 300000 deaths a year are attributed to obesity Pr Newswire 1999 In comparison Ohio is ranked 31st ranked best to worst in 1999 among 50 states plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia for the number of adults who reported being overweight as cited in the Ohio Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System report The rapid increase in obesity suggests that there are a large number of changes in todays society that are contributing to weight gain The clinical definition of obesity is usually expressed in terms of body mass index BMI which is derived by dividing ones weight by the square of ones height Allison Saunders 2000 In 1997 the World Health Organization defined various classifications of overweight and obesity Overweight is defined as a BMI greater than 25 and obesity is a BMI greater than 30 Allison Saunders This classification was adopted by the National Institutes of Health and is now a worldwide standard Allison Saunders Although multiple factors can account for weight gain the basic cause is an excess in energy intake over expenditure Young Nestle 2002 According to research by Young Nestle 2002 one cause is food consumed outside the home which accounted for 34 of the food budget in 1970 but 47 by the late 1990s as cited in US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service 1995 Another possibility is the size of food portions Since the food industry has grown larger and people are eating out more marketing has become more concentrated and larger numbers of new products
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