Recent advances in the understanding of the melting behavior of double-stranded DNA with statistical mechanics methods lead to improved estimates of the weight factors for the dissociation events of the chains, in particular for interior loop melting. So far, in the modeling of DNA melting, the entropy of denaturated loops has been estimated from the number of configurations of a closed self-avoiding walk. It is well understood now that a loop embedded in a chain is characterized by a loop closure exponent c which is higher than that of an isolated loop. Here we report an analysis of DNA melting curves for sequences of a broad range of lengths (from 10 to 10(6) base pairs) calculated with a program based on the algorithms underlying MELTSIM. Using the embedded loop exponent we find that the cooperativity parameter is one order of magnitude bigger than current estimates. We argue that in the melting region the double helix persistence length is greatly reduced compared to its room temperature value, so that the use of the embedded loop closure exponent for real DNA sequences is justified.