WASHINGTON, June 22 (UPI) -- Nearly three-quarters of men and two-thirds of women in the United States are either overweight or obese, an increase of more than 10 percent during the past two decades, according a new study.
Researchers analyzed data on more than 15,000 men and women collected between 2007 and 2012 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, updating a similar survey of data collected between 1988 and 1994 that showed obesity to be a growing problem.
"We see this as a wake-up call to implement policies and practices designed to combat overweight and obesity, to implement what we already know into place to accelerate the obesity prevention and treatment," Lin Yang, a post-doctoral researcher in the Division of Public Health Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine, told CBS News. "Population-based strategies may help to alter the obesity trend through physical environment interventions, enhancing primary care efforts, and shifting society norms of behavior."
Based on the data, 39.96 percent of men and 29.74 percent of women were overweight, and 35.05 percent of men and 36.83 percent of women were obese, meaning that 75 percent of men and 66 percent of women are at least overweight. This would represent an increase from the previous survey, which found that 63 percent of men and 55 percent of women were overweight or obese.
Yang suggested bike lanes and more pedestrian-friendly areas would encourage people to engage in physical activity, as well as acknowledging that diet should be considered part of the issue because some people simply don't have access to affordable, healthy food.
The study is published in JAMA Internal Medicine.