Making a Difference in South Carolina’s Obesity Rate

the dreaded bathroom scale

South Carolina ranked 10th in the United States for obesity, making it heavier than 40 other states. In all, 32.1% of the state’s adult population was considered obese in 2014, measured by a Body Mass Index greater than 30. A)From the CDC’s State of Obesity website.

Trends in obesity rates
Data collected by the Centers for Disease Control suggests that South Carolinans are trending in the wrong direction. Obesity rates have increased 268% since 1990, and have yet to peak. The obesity rate has dropped only once since 1990, when obesity rates fell by a statistically insignificant 0.1% from 2011 to 2012. B)From the CDC’s State of Obesity website.

 

SC obesity rate

 

Obesity rates by age
The cohort aged 45 to 64 is nearly twice as likely to be obese as those aged 18 to 25. This isn’t particularly surprising, as people 45 to 64 have lost some of their youthful metabolism, and are generally less active. C)From the CDC’s State of Obesity website. Your metabolism generally slows at a rate of about 2% per decade past 25 years of age. D)Read more in a Washington Post article.

 

South Carolina obesity rate by age

 

See where you stand
The calculator below will accurately calculate your BMI. (Accurate for adults only.) E)For an in-depth discussion on why BMI is different for kids, see this page. Simplified: Calculations for children are adjusted for age and sex, neither of which matter in adult BMI calculations.

 

 

Here’s how to “score” your BMI reading:

  • Below 18.5 – Underweight
  • 18.5 to 24.9 – Normal or “healthy” weight
  • 25.0 to 29.9 – Overweight
  • 30.0 and up – Obese

A word of caution
BMI is a generally useful tool, but as with anything in fitness, nothing is every one-size-fits-all. It suffers from a fatal flaw in that it is calculated based on two variables: height and weight. F)Here’s the formula: BMI = ( Weight in Pounds / ( Height in inches x Height in inches ) ) x 703

Perfectly healthy, muscular people can frequently register as “overweight.” Likewise, it doesn’t control for behavior. Pack-a-day smokers can register as “healthy” despite being frequently out of breath. Sweet-toothed young adults might have a diet that will guarantee obesity at an older age, but register as having a perfectly healthy weight in the present. G)Seriously, weight and height are just two variables out of millions. Per the CDC, “BMI can be used as a screening tool for body fatness but is not diagnostic.”

Furthermore, don’t get caught up in the groupings. The line between being a “healthy” weight or being “overweight” is more of a gray area than a firm line at a 25 BMI. H)You can easily gain or lose enough weight in a day for your BMI to fluctuate by fractional amounts.

Having said all that, for identifying trends across an entire state, BMI is very useful. Unfortunately, though, what we’ve discovered is that South Carolina is headed in the wrong direction. It’s Workhorse’s goal to have an impact, and help South Carolina lead a healthier lifestyle.

Making a Difference in South Carolina’s Obesity Rate

Footnotes   [ + ]

A, B, C. From the CDC’s State of Obesity website.
D. Read more in a Washington Post article.
E. For an in-depth discussion on why BMI is different for kids, see this page. Simplified: Calculations for children are adjusted for age and sex, neither of which matter in adult BMI calculations.
F. Here’s the formula: BMI = ( Weight in Pounds / ( Height in inches x Height in inches ) ) x 703
G. Seriously, weight and height are just two variables out of millions. Per the CDC, “BMI can be used as a screening tool for body fatness but is not diagnostic.”
H. You can easily gain or lose enough weight in a day for your BMI to fluctuate by fractional amounts.

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