A growing American phenomenon has reached a statistical milestone: More Americans are now obese compared to being simply overweight.

Results from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), released last month, indicate that an estimated 32.7 percent of U.S. adults 20 years and older are overweight, 34.3 percent are obese and 5.9 percent are extremely obese.

The obesity figure of 34.3 percent is up from 23 percent in a similar study done in 1988 through 1994.

The studies were provided by the federal government's National Center for Health Statistics.

A household interview and a physical examination were conducted for each survey participant. During the physical examination, conducted in mobile examination centers, height and weight were measured as part of a more comprehensive set of body measurements used to calculate body mass index (BMI). [See methods here.]

This week, some health experts said the situation could worsen during the recession as people turn to junk food in a dubious effort to save money.

You can find out if you are overweight or obese using this body mass calculator.

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