It’s been two decades since federal health officials said the U.S. was experiencing a “growing obesity epidemic” that was putting millions of lives at stake – but the situation has gotten significantly worse since 1999. At the turn of the century, 30.5% of American adults were obese, meaning they had a body mass index of 30 or higher. That rate largely increased through 2015-2016, helping to fuel related health issues like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers – all of which are among the leading causes of death in the U.S. According to data released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the obesity rate reached 42.4% in 2017-2018 – surpassing 40% for the first time. Although the increase was not significant between 2015-2016 and 2017-2018, the new data represents a failure to meet the federal government’s public health goals set for this year.
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