The latest data from the US CDC indicates that over one-third of US adults are obese. In relation to different groups, the highest rates are amongst non-Hispanic blacks with almost 50% of the population classed as obese.
The figures from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that over one-third of adults in the US (35.7%) are obese. The data was collected at various points between 2008 and 2010 and was published in August 2012.
Obesity, according to the medical journal Lancet, is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems. The US governmental definition of obesity is: 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.
In selecting some of the interesting findings:
In terms of different groups, non-Hispanic blacks have the highest age-adjusted rates of obesity (49.5%) compared with Mexican Americans (40.4%), all Hispanics (39.1%) and non-Hispanic whites (34.3%).
In terms of socio-economic status, drawing from a separate CDC report, the data is a little mixed, with non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American men, those with higher incomes are more likely to be obese than those with low income. However, with women higher income women are less likely to be obese than low-income women.
In terms of geography, every state in the US had rates of 20% of the population being obese, or greater. Obesity prevalence ranged from 20.7% in Colorado to 34.9% in Mississippi. This followed a new approach by the CDC for collecting data.
According to the National Heart and Lung Institute obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.
A separate summary from Health Affairs, in a study of the economic costs of obesity, indicates that in 2008, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion. Furthermore, the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.