Monday, July 04, 2005

Another Motivating Factor For Me

As my profile states, I'm an epidemiologist. I know it's a fancy word for those who study epidemics. My speciality lies in chronic diseases and health behaviors. I coordinate a survey in the State of Michigan called the Behavioral Risk Factor Survey. It is a telephone survey that samples the population in Michigan and asks a variety of questions on chronic diseases and health behaviors.

Here's few statistics concerning our nation in 2004 (these estimates are state medians which include D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico; and excludes Hawaii and Guam):
1. It is estimated that 23.2% of the nation was obese (BMI > 29.9).
2. 23.6% of men were obese, 22.5% of women.
3. This estimate steadily increased with age, from 13.5% of those aged 18-24 to 29.3% of those aged 55-64.
4. Those who have lower income levels were more likely to be obese than those with higher income levels, the same trend is seen with educational levels.
Between 1990 and 2004, the percentage of adults in our nation who were obese nearly doubled from 11.6% to 23.2%. You can see a graph of this current trend through 2002 here.

I work with these numbers daily for Michigan. I can tell you that people who are obese are more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and arthritis. There has been a new push to reduce the burden of obesity and of chronic disease across the nation and within our department. Our department's philosophy is "Eat Better, Move More." (That slogan may be reversed.) I'm trying to do both.

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