Obesity is still rising among American adults, despite more than a decade of public-awareness campaigns and other efforts to get people to watch their weight, and women have now overtaken men in the obese category, new government research shows.

For the past several years, experts thought the nation’s alarming, decades-long rise in obesity had leveled off. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report Thursday that the obesity rate climbed to nearly 38 percent of adults in 2013-14, up from 32 percent about a decade earlier.

“This is a striking finding” and suggests that a situation that was thought to be stable is getting worse, said Dr. William Dietz, an obesity expert at George Washington University.

But another authority, the University of North Carolina’s Barry Popkin, urged caution, saying the participants selected for the study may not have been representative of the nation as a whole.

Experts said they had no explanation for why the obesity rate appears to be rising.

The report also found a tipping of the scales toward women. Obesity rates for men and women had been roughly the same for about a decade. But in the new report, the rate was significantly higher for women, at 38 percent, compared with 34 percent for men.

Associated Press

 

Smoking declines, but poor at risk

Smoking, the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, continued to decline last year, federal health authorities reported Thursday, with the share of American adults who smoke dropping to 16.8 percent, down from 17.8 percent in 2013.

Smoking has been one of the brightest public health successes of recent history. Nearly half of all Americans smoked in the 1960s, but a broad push against the habit, starting with the surgeon general’s warning in 1964, helped bring rates down. The rate has dropped by about a fifth since 2005, when it was 21 percent.

But the numbers mask deep trouble spots. About 43 percent of less educated Americans smoked in 2014, compared with just 5 percent of those with a graduate degree. About a third of Americans insured by Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor, smoked, compared with 13 percent of Americans with private insurance. The figures, reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, underscored the extent to which smoking in America has become a problem of the poor.

new york times

 

no smoking in public housing?

The government is seeking to ban smoking in all of the nation’s 1.2 million public housing units, the latest step in a decades-long crackdown on tobacco products that help kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year.

In its proposed rule, announced Thursday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development would require more than 3,100 public housing agencies to go smoke-free within several years. The agencies must design policies prohibiting lit tobacco products in all living units, indoor common areas, administrative offices and in all outdoor areas near housing and administrative office buildings, HUD officials said.

Though HUD will not design a final rule until after it hears public comments over the next two months, there seems little doubt that the government is headed toward the smoking ban.

Washington post