I have got the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality report on my Google reader, and while digging through for interesting stuff I ran across two reports that taken together were unexpected. You can find these articles over on the right under "shared items."
First, from September 15, 2006, there is an obesity report that shows that the percentage of adults over 20 yrs who are obese has had a definite and significant increase between 1995 and 2005. Rates have gone up across the board, including having suddenly 3 States in which 30% or above of the over 20's are obese. People are clearly getting fatter.
Second, from October 6, 2006, there is a QuickStats report showing that death rates from heart disease, cancer, and cerebrovascular disease dropped consistently between 2000 and 2005. The drops aren't huge, but they are definitely dropping. So people are dying of other things, instead, increasingly.
What do these things mean together? I am not sure. Maybe nothing. Maybe since most folk who die are 65+, those who are dying now haven't had much lifetime in the obese or just fat state, and the effects on mortality causes won't show up for a decade or two.
But still, I find the opposite directions of the two articles contrary to what I would have expected off the cuff, and so interesting. Are you more likely to die of something else as obesity increases? But I thought heart disease and cancer were strongly tied to obesity. Are people doing something else that changes what they die of, but does not interfere with gaining weight? Wierd.
A third article looks interesting in their context. From July 21, 2006, Trends in Strength Training --- United States, 1998--2004, shows that among people over 65, both men and women, the prevalence of some form of strength training increased.
So people are increasing "healthy" behaviors, they are dying more of things other than the big two, but they are still getting fatter.