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America slims down: more people have ‘normal’ BMI than ‘overweight’

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For the first time in three years, the percentage of Americans falling into the “healthy weight” BMI range outnumbers the percentage in the “overweight” BMI range, according to new Gallup poll results.

Overweight people in the 25 to 29.9 BMI range make up 35.8 percent of the population, while 36.6 percent have a “normal” BMI range of 18.5 to 24.9. Obese people make up 25.8 percent of the population.

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The flip-flopping of the number of normal and overweight people at the top of the list is not the only noteworthy finding of the poll: the percentage of obese people has dropped slightly from when it was last measured, from 26.2 percent to 25.8 percent in three months. Throughout 2009 and most of 2010, the obesity rate was rising. All U.S. demographic groups have also shown a decrease in their obesity rates.

While the majority of Americans are still at a statistically unhealthy weight — 61.6 percent of people are either overweight or obese — there is a gradual trend toward healthier weights.

First lady Michelle Obama works to fight childhood obesity with her “Let’s Move!” initiative, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture revamped the food pyramid in June 2011, unveiling MyPlate. The new guideline is meant to emphasis portion control and healthy ratios of different kinds of food.

Creative Commons image via flickr user mygymworkout.


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