Statistics

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following information applies to the United States:

* More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese.

Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of death.

* Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest rates of obesity (44.1%) compared with Mexican Americans (39.3%), all Hispanics (37.9%) and non-Hispanic whites (32.6%).

* In 2008, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion; the medical costs paid by third-party payors for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight

* Among non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American men, those with higher incomes are more likely to be obese than those with low income.

* Higher income women are less likely to be obese than low-income women.

* There is no significant relationship between obesity and education among men. Among women, however, there is a trend—those with college degrees are less likely to be obese compared with less educated women.

* Between 1988–1994 and 2007–2008 the prevalence of obesity increased in adults at all income and education levels.

Overweight v. Obese:

For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the “body mass index” (BMI). BMI is used because, for most people, it correlates with their amount of body fat.

* An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.

* An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

It is important to remember that although BMI correlates with the amount of body fat, BMI does not directly measure body fat. As a result, some people, such as athletes, may have a BMI that identifies them as overweight even though they do not have excess body fat. For more information about BMI, visit Body Mass Index.

Other methods of estimating body fat and body fat distribution include measurements of skinfold thickness and waist circumference, calculation of waist-to-hip circumference ratios, and techniques such as ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Please visit the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information about adult obesity.