Rising obesity rates among U.S. adults is back and it could bebigger than ever.

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So far this year, the adult obesity rate is 27.2 percent, upfrom 26.2 percent in 2012, according to a new Gallup report.

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Not only that, but Gallup notes that obesity rates haveincreased across almost all demographic groups, and the rate is onpace to surpass all annual average obesity rates sinceGallup-Healthways began tracking in 2008.

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Though the increase over last year seems relatively small,Gallup researchers say the uptick in the obesity rate so far in2013 is “statistically significant and is the largestyear-over-year increase since 2009.”

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The new report is bad news amid a federal anti-obesity campaignand previous reports that indicated obesity rates among Americanswere becoming stagnant. This year’s rate increasereverses the lower levels recorded in 2011 and 2012 by Gallup, andis much higher than the 25.5 percent who were obese in 2008.

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Earlier this year, a Centers for Disease Control and Preventionreport showed that childhood obesity, on the other hand, seems to be declining, albeit slightly.

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“It is unclear why the (overall) obesity rate is up this year,and the trend since 2008 shows a pattern of some fluctuation,” theGallup report read. “This underscores the possibility that that therecent uptick is shorter-term, rather than a more permanent change.Still, if the current trend continues for the next several years,the implications for the health of Americans and the increasedburden on the health care system could be significant.”

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The obesity rate is highest among blacks, middle-aged, andlower-income adults, Gallup found. But rates increased acrossalmost all major demographic and socioeconomic groups, with theexception of 18- to 29-year-olds, among whom the percentage who areobese has remained stable.

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The increase in obesity rate was accompanied by a slight declinein the percentage of Americans classified as normal weight or asoverweight but not obese.

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Researchers noted that the Patient Protection and AffordableCare Act may help reduce obesity among low-income Americans if theuninsured sign up for coverage and “take advantage of the freeobesity screening and counseling that most insurance companies arerequired to provide under the law.”

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They also noted that employers can take an active role to helplower obesity rates (and cut health care costs) by developing andimplementing strategies to help workers maintain or reach a healthyweight.

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Researchers calculated these percentages based on 14,000interviews conducted between Jan. 1 and Oct. 28 of this year.

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