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Adult Obesity Facts

Obesity is common, serious and costly

  • More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese. [Read abstract Journal of American Medicine (JAMA)]
  • Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death. [Read guidelines]
  • The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. [Read summary]

Obesity affects some groups more than others

[Read abstract Journal of American Medicine (JAMA)]

Obesity prevalance map

Obesity Prevalence Maps
Adult obesity prevalence by state and territory using self-reported information from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

  • Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest age-adjusted rates of obesity (47.8%) followed by Hispanics (42.5%), non-Hispanic whites (32.6%), and non-Hispanic Asians (10.8%)
  • Obesity is higher among middle age adults, 40-59 years old (39.5%) than among younger adults, age 20-39 (30.3%) or adults over 60 or above (35.4%) adults.

Obesity and socioeconomic status

[Read CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief [PDF-1.07Mb]

  • Among non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American men, those with higher incomes are more likely to have obesity than those with low income.
  • Higher income women are less likely to have obesity 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 have obesity compared with less educated women.

Related Links

  • Obesity Prevalence Maps
    State-specific data on adult obesity prevalence using self-reported information from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) shows that obesity prevalence remains high in the United States.

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