PUBLISHED: 23:00 EST, 23 October 2012 | UPDATED: 18:15 EST, 24 October 2012
As the presidential candidates bicker over whether Americans are ‘better off’ than they were four years ago, there’s one thing we know for sure: they are a lot heavier.
Obesity has grown within every age group, from young adults to seniors, by more than 2 per cent since 2008, according to a new Gallup survey.
Middle-aged men and women and seniors experienced the biggest jump in weight over the last four years, with more than 30 per cent of those age groups now considered overweight.
For example, 30.4 per cent of 44-to-47-year-olds are considered obese today, up from 27.9 per cent in 2008.
‘Most Americans who are over the age of 35 are now significantly more likely to be obese than those who were that same age four years ago,’ the surveyors determined.
Groups that saw the smallest weight increases were 18-to-35-year-olds.
The surveyors interviewed 579,210 Americans in 2008 and in 2012 who were at least 18 years of age to determine the results.Obese people are generally defined as weighing 20 percent or more than the ‘normal’ weight for someone their height and age.
Overall, roughly 26.1 per cent of people qualify as obese today, up from 25.5 per cent four years ago.
The surveyors called this a ‘significant’ increase — especially for middle-aged people.
‘The increase in obesity among middle-aged adults is particularly troubling, because it means these adults will face the health risks of maintaining an unhealthy weight for a longer period of time, resulting in a lower quality of life, more health problems, and a shorter lifespan,’ surveyors wrote. ‘This will also add to the nation’s multi-billion dollar healthcare bill.’
The survey also found that Americans are still experiencing the same general ‘pattern’ of weight gain that they were in 2008, with obesity increasing as Americans get older before declining in their early 70s.