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Obesity And Middle Age: People In Midlife Have Highest Rate of Obesity, Study Shows

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The obesity rate in America may have plateaued and may even be declining in some areas, but many in middle age are still carrying around their spare tires, according to the newly released Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index™ (WBI). While the obesity rate in America fell in 2011 to 26.1 percent, from 26.6 percent in 2010 and 26.5 percent in 2009, those aged 45 to 64 still have the highest obesity rate in the nation -- a whopping 30.8 percent. The study found an even higher rate of obesity among middle-aged African Americans and Hispanics: 41.0 percent and 34.5 percent, respectively.

As you age, a slower metabolism and muscle loss may make burning calories more difficult, so eating like you did in your 20s could result in weight gain. But obesity goes beyond not being able to fit into your daughter's jeans -- an obese person has an excess amount of fat, with a BMI of 30 or greater. Health risks of obesity include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea and other serious issues. Obesity can also have a tremendous impact on your wallet.

“The obesity epidemic isn’t just a public health issue; it’s also a financial burden on individuals, companies and governments,” Ben Leedle, Jr., Healthways president and CEO, said in a statement. “According to the National Institutes of Health, the annual incremental cost of healthcare per person due to obesity is $1,429."

What can you do to beat these statistics and shed extra pounds? Check out the slide show below.

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