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U.S. obesity growing fast among the rich

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WASHINGTON, May 2 (UPI) -- Once considered primarily a problem for U.S. poor people, obesity is growing fastest among those making more than $60,000 a year.

"There has been a perception that poor people are more likely to be fat," said Nidhi Maheshwari, a graduate research assistant in epidemiology in the University of Iowa College of Public Health in Iowa City, Iowa. "However, obesity is growing at a much faster rate in those with the highest incomes."

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The researchers compared data collected in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys during 1971-74 with data collect 2001-02. The researchers found the highest income category, above $60,000, had the greatest increase - 27.6 percent -- in obesity prevalence from 9.7 percent in 1971-1974 to 26.8 percent in 2001-2002.

"The inverse relationship between income and obesity seen in earlier studies has eroded," said study co-author Dr. Jennifer Robinson of the University of Iowa.

The findings were presented during the American Heart Association's 45th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.

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