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Story idea: Obesity rate worse than we think?
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Are we underestimating obesity rates?
April 3, 2012 12:01 a.m.

Doctors and health officials have relied for decades on body mass index (BMI), a ratio of height to weight, to categorize people as overweight and obese. A new study, however, suggests the use of BMI may be leading us to underestimate the already sky-high obesity rate.

BMI, the researchers say, is an overly simplistic measure that often misrepresents physical fitness and overall health, especially among older women. Nearly 4 in 10 adults whose BMI places them in the overweight category would be considered obese if their body fat percentage were taken into account, according to the study.

How to localize:

  • Check the obsity rates in your area (the CDC Web site has information) and see how the rate has increased over the years. The CDC has a map that shows growth since 1985 that could be used on your Web site.

  • Discuss exercise and diet programs that work. Local dieticians and others can provide healthy recepies. Local fitness experts can talk about easy workouts to help cut pounds.

  • Talk to local residents and find people who have made a change to a healthier lifestyle. Talk to them about how to make the change and stick to it.

  • Local doctors can talk about how extra weight can affect your health, including increased health care costs.


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