Mayo Clinic Proceedings looks at epidemic of obesity in February issue

ROCHESTER, MINN. -Three articles and an editorial in the February Mayo Clinic Proceedings outline the difficulties facing people who are overweight, but offer some strategies that might help reduce the surge of obesity in the nations population.

In the United States, the prevalence of obesity increased from 12 percent in 1991 to nearly 18 percent in 1998.

A study of self-reported weight, weight goals and weight control strategies in Olmsted County (Minnesota) outlines the small percentage of people utilizing the recommended approach of combining food restriction with at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. It notes the efforts being undertaken by CardioVision 2020, a comprehensive program designed to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease on the population of Olmsted County. It considers obesity as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

"Like the majority of people in the United States, the majority of people in Olmsted County desire to control their weight," said Thomas Kottke, M.D., cardiology, of Mayo Clinic and an author of the study. "The community has responded with plans to help residents meet their goals, although efficacy and outcomes remain to be determined."

A random-digit dial telephone survey of 1,224 Olmsted County residents from Feb. 28 to May 5, 2000, found that 65.6 percent of men and 47.9 percent of women reported that they were overweight or obese. Of the respondents, 72.6 percent of men and 85.1 percent of women reported that they were either trying to lose or not gain weight. The average weight loss goal for individuals trying to lose weight was 23.4 pounds for men and 28 pounds for women. Only one-third of individuals trying to lose weight and one-fifth of individuals trying not to gain weight reported using the recommended approach of combining food restriction with at least 150 minutes of exercise a week.

CardioVision 2020 has coordinated activities to aid people in their weight-loss efforts

Contact: John Murphy
Mayo Clinic

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