Monday, March 02, 2020

42% of Americans Are Obese

Obesity continues to spread. Among Americans aged 20 or older, 42.4 percent are obese according to the 2017–18 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This is up from 39.6 percent in the 2015–16 survey. These numbers are based on the measured heights and weights of nationally representative samples of the U.S. population. Obesity is defined as a body mass index of 30 or higher (body mass index = kg/m2 or weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared).

Percentage of Americans aged 20 or older who are obese
2017–2018: 42.4%
2015–2016: 39.6%
2009–2010: 35.7%
1999–2000: 30.5%

No one knows why obesity has become so common, but the causes appear to be affecting everyone equally. Obesity does not vary by sex or age, with 43 percent of men and 42 percent of women measured as obese. By age group, 40 percent of 20-to-39-year-olds, 45 percent of people aged 40 to 59, and 43 percent of those aged 65 or older are obese. Obesity also doesn't vary much by race or Hispanic origin—with one exception. Only 17 percent of Asians are obese versus 42 percent of non-Hispanic Whites, 45 percent of Hispanics, and 50 percent of Blacks.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Prevalence of Obesity and Severe Obesity among Adults: United States, 2017–2018

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