earlier, there is no routine linkage of the medical failure database to administrative data on basic training attrition.


Prevalence of Overweight in U.S. Population

The percentage of children and adults who are overweight or obese is a growing problem in the United States. Results from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) show that 65 percent of adults are either overweight or obese as defined by BMI.1 This figure represents an increase of 16 percent over the prevalence for these two categories in 1988-1994 (NHANES III) and an increase of 38 percent over the prevalence found in 1978-1980 (NHANES II). Overweight and obesity in adults are defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a BMI between 25 and 29.9 for overweight and a BMI of 30 or greater for obesity (http://www.cdc.gov). These definitions have been endorsed by more than 50 scientific and medical organizations and are used as indicators of increased health risks (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 1998).

Overweight and obesity have a strong impact on heath, disability, and quality of life. Most recently, however, Flegal et al. (2005) compared the relative risk of underweight, overweight, and obese categories with normal, healthy weight using data from NHANES I, II, and III with follow-up through 2000. They found that adults in all age groups classified as overweight (BMI = 25.5-29.9) had a slightly lower mortality rate than adults in the average range of 18.5 to 25.5, while individuals above 29.9 and below 18.5 were shown to be at greater risk for mortality than those in the average group.

In the youth population, the prevalence of overweight in children ages 6 to 11 and adolescents ages 12 to 19 tripled between 1963 and 1999 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001). For these age groups, overweight is determined by sex- and age-specific BMIs that are over the 95th percentile on the CDC growth charts. Trend data provided in the Handbook of Obesity (Bray, Bouchard, and James, 2004) and taken from NHANES III show increases for both boys and girls in these age groups from 1963 to 2000. The prevalence of overweight in 2000 was 15.5 percent for adolescent boys and girls, 16 percent for boys ages 6 to 11, and 14.5 percent for girls ages 6 to 11.


BMI is calculated as: (weight in pounds ÷ height in inches2) x 703 or weight in kilograms ÷ height in meters2.

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