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Bathroom Scales Get a Break


Americans have stopped getting fatter:

The numbers indicate that obesity rates have remained constant for at least five years among men and for closer to 10 years among women and children — long enough for experts to say the percentage of very overweight people has leveled off.

The article points out that, by the national average, we’re still obese. But applying the same rhetoric used for economic conditions, we have “turned the corner” and “stabilized our national caloric imbalance”. There is “still a long way to go”. And although “the road to healthier living may be bumpy”, we must “forge ahead” because our eating habits “will bankrupt the country through increased costs of caring for the fatties”.

It might be my own filter and selective perception, but I doubt this data will get as many headlines as the rise in obesity has generated over the past decade or two.

The original NY TImes story offers some explanations for why we’ve stopped getting fatter. Maxed Out Momma doesn’t find those reasons satisfying and supplies her own.

Some of the fattest populations can’t afford to get any fatter:

What you are really seeing here is the result of the inflation of recent years, which has led to a change in food-buying and consumption, mostly among poorer folks. Look at the change in black women in just a few years. This coincides with rapidly rising food prices, not education efforts, and the reason black women are losing the most is that they are trying to feed their kids.

In 2006 and 2006 I already knew of a number of white families with children and two working parents in which the parents were skipping meals at the end of the pay periods to feed their children.

And even more basically, we’re eating less per capita:

The population is growing; food shipments are dropping; ergo, thinner 'Mercans.

But it’s not time to fret about starvation. Remember, the data says we’re still too fat. Our poor are still dying of obesity-related disease, not deprivation. Even the kids are O.K. by the statistical and anecdotal evidence; they’re getting their meals.