Sad But True: Americans Are (Still) Getting Fatter

It may seem like Americans are getting healthier, given the explosion in yoga's popularity, our increasing preference for organic foods, and a growing acceptance of mindfulness. Unfortunately, despite these positive trends, a new study by the CDC reveals that American waistlines are still expanding.

The study looked at the average circumference of more than 32,000 American waistlines in 2011-2013 compared with waistlines about a decade ago. They discovered about a 3.2% increase in that time period, from 95.5 cm (37.6 inches) to 98.5 cm (38.8 inches).

Looking at waistline circumference allows the researchers to avoid relying on BMI, which can result in a misunderstanding of obesity trends. TIME explains:

The researchers note that prior analyses using the exact same surveys but focusing on BMI have concluded that obesity prevalence has not changed significantly and perhaps even leveled off. The researchers write that positive developments in eating and exercise “have given hope that the decades-long increase in the prevalence of obesity in the United States may have crested.” But their data shows abdominal obesity is actually increasing.

Until we have better regulation of the food industry and more active promotion of preventative health measures (like exercise and public health programs), large-scale change will be difficult.

So get out there and spread the message of health and wellness! We can help make America a healthier place!

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