Obesity Rates in America – Facts and Figures

Obesity Rates in America Facts and Figures

Obesity is one of the most prevalent health issues in the United States. In today’s blog, we are going to review the facts on obesity among different age groups, what kind of health complications it could lead to, and what can be done to prevent it.

What do statistics on obesity reveal?

Obesity rates in the United States are rising. Let’s take a look at it from the perspective of different age groups:

Obesity Statistics among US citizens vary across age groups. CDC reports have shown the below obesity percentage:

20-39 years old – 35.7%

40-59 years old – 42.8%

60 years and above – 41.0%

Another research done by JAMA in 2016 has revealed obesity stats in kids:

2-5 years old – 11.1%

6-11 years old – 24.9%

12-19 years old – 30.0%

If we see the obesity data from the genders’ perspective, the CDC report reveals that:

Males – 80.6% are obese

Females – 81.2% are obese

How are obesity and being overweight measured?

To measure overweight and obesity, BMI is often used. It is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the height in meters squared.

All bodies are different, but being overweight or obese can cause severe health complications. Below is the BMI classification that reveals a lot about your body.

Body mass index for adults

BMI of Adults ( 19 years and above)

Underweight BMI is <18.5

The normal range of BMI is 18.6 – 24.9

The overweight BMI range is 25 – 29.9

Obesity BMI range is 30 – 39.9

Severe Obesity BMI range is > 40

 BMI in children

BMI of Children and Adolescents (2 years to 19 years)

Kids who are at or above 85 percentile on the CDC growth chart are considered overweight and obese

Kids who are at or above 95 percentile and above on the CDC growth chart are said to be extremely obese.

National Institutes of Health has found that obesity is the second most prevalent cause of preventable death. Stats have revealed that nearly 300,000 deaths per year are caused due to obesity.

According to Personal Finance Site WalletHub report, most of the states in the US are having a high percentage of the obese population. According to its evaluation, below are the states in the US with the highest obesity rates:

  1. Mississippi
  2. West Virginia
  3. Arkansas
  4. Tennessee
  5. Kentucky
  6. South Carolina
  7. Louisiana
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Alabama
  10. Michigan

How does obesity impact the economy of the US?

Obesity and its associated health problems impact the economy directly or indirectly. Direct costs may include surgery, laboratory, radiology tests, drug therapy, preventive, diagnostic, and treatment health services.

Indirect costs include the impact of employee’s health on the economy of the organization and country. Obesity leads to several health complications, leading to the absenteeism of employees from work, lost productivity, lack of interest in doing the tasks, distractions, etcetera.

The estimated annual cost of obesity-related diseases is around $190.2 billion in the United States. The direct medical cost of only childhood obesity in the United States goes up to $14 billion. The direct and hidden health care costs for obese people in the ten cities of the US reach around $50 million per 100,000 residents.

Finkelstein and his colleagues evaluated the cost of obesity per person in the year 2006. They found that per capita, an average an obese individual had an expense of $1429 compared to people with ideal weight.

What are the most common causes of increasing obesity among US people?

There are a lot of factors that contribute to weight gain among different age groups. Some of the common factors include:

  • Family Inheritance
  • Poor Eating Habits
  • Lack of Physical Exercise
  • Bad Sleeping Habits
  • Medical Conditions

Family Inheritance:

Family inheritance

The genes that you inherit from your parents may affect your body shape and weight. Through your genes, your appetite is regulated; your consumed food is digested and converted into energy, etcetera.

Poor Eating Habits:

poor eating habits

These days our lives have become so busy that we hardly get time to cook fresh food. So, we rely more on packed food and fast food. Studies have found that Americans are consuming 23% more calories than ever before. This is how it contributes to weight gain.

Lack of Physical Activity:

Lack of Physical activity

A sedentary lifestyle makes you lazy and inactive. As the COVID situation is prevailing, people of all ages are now spending more time in front of screens than making any physical efforts. As a result, we become overweight and obese.

Bad Sleeping Habits:

bad sleeping habits

Many studies have shown a connection between sleep and weight. People who do not take enough sleep tend to have more appetite and hunger than those who take enough sleep. Thus, they consume more calories and get prone to weight gain.

Medical Conditions:

Medical Conditions

Some health conditions like arthritis can reduce body movements and may result in weight gain. Some medications like anti-depressants and anti-seizure could also lead to obesity if diet and physical activities are not taken care of.

How to cut the high costs of Obesity?

Obesity rates are spiking faster than ever before in the US. Therefore, more urgent programs are required to aware people of the health and economic consequences of obesity. By far, one of the best ways to trim the high costs of obesity is prevention.

By preventing obesity, one can maintain health and pursue healthy living. A healthy exercise and balanced diet can help reduce obesity and maintain a healthy weight.

The Bottom Line

Obesity could diminish your quality of life and lead to destructive health issues, so you must regularly monitor your health and weight. It would help if you were consistent in following your fitness regime and diet.

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