US Obesity Rates Leveling Off After 30 years on the rise, rates appear to be stabilizing By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Jan 18, 2012 9:32 AM CST 8 comments Comments Obesity rates are finally leveling off in the US. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – After rapidly rising for three decades, obesity rates in the US are apparently stabilizing—finally, the Los Angeles Times reports. New data shows just a slight rise in obesity rates since 2005, and many experts say this flattening reflects the success of efforts such as healthier school lunches and nutritional information on food packages. Of course, as one nutrition expert notes, "The bad news is we still have obesity rates that are just astronomical." Specifically, 35.7% of American adults were considered obese in 2010. And rates did rise over the same period among specific groups, including black women and Mexican-American women, notes the Times. The Washington Post looks at the data and asks a question: If anti-obesity efforts are working, then why a stabilization rather than a drop in rates? Time speaks to a CDC director who offers this answer: The trend may be similar to what happened after anti-smoking efforts were launched in the 1950s. In that case, it took more than 10 years to begin to see a decline in smoking rates. "Nutrition programs and physical activity efforts have only just begun to kick in, and haven’t had much time to operate. It takes time before the effects of policy change begin to show benefit in terms of behavior changes," he says.