How Bad Is The Obesity Problem In The US?

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released on Thursday showed that the prevalence of obesity had increased by 12 percent over an 18-year period in the United States. How is that the case? In the year 1999-2000, the prevalence of obesity was 30.5 percent. As of 2017-2018, the prevalence reached 42.4 percent, as per the data. 

“What we found most striking is that more than 40 percent of adults in the U.S. had obesity in 2017-2018, which is more than 10 percentage points higher than the prevalence was in 1999-2000,” study co-author and CDC epidemiologist, Cynthia Ogden, said. Age-wise analysis showed that the prevalence was 40 percent among people aged 20-39, 44.8 percent for adults aged between 40-59 and 42.8 percent for adults above the age of 60. 

However, when it came to understanding the severe obesity rate, it had increased from 4.7 percent in 1999-2000 to 9.2 percent in 2017 -2018. Severe obesity was noticed most in the age group between 40 to 59 (11.5 percent), compared to adults of other ages between 20–39 (9.1 percent) and people aged 60 and above ( 5.8 percent). 

When the prevalence was adjusted for gender, particularly in terms of severe obesity, more women (11.5 percent) than men (6.9 percent) had severe obesity. The most significant increase in trends related to obesity was observed from 1999–2000 through 2015–2016. 

Now, the trends, though still on the high side, have stabilized. This is because over the previous two years, the rates of obesity had not changed from 2015–2016 to 2017–2018. Health officials had warned of the epidemic multiplying in 1999, but to no avail. The CDC's report is the recent national data compiled by them, annually showing a steady spike. 

“The findings are important for everyone. We’ve seen increases in obesity going back to the 1980s, so it continues to be a public health concern. We know that obesity and severe obesity, in particular, are associated with many chronic conditions including diabetes and heart disease,” Ogden added. 

The researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys to calculate the increase of obesity over the years. Race was also another factor assessed. Non-Hispanic black Americans had the highest rate with 49.6 percent, Hispanics had the second most highest prevalence at 44.8 percent, while the white Americans were at at 42.2 percent and the Asian population had the lowest rate of obesity at 17.4 percent. 

The reason that obesity is so closely monitored by the CDC is because obesity is a public health concern and to help the government with building health programs to bring the condition down. Some of the complications that accompany obesity are diabetes and heart disease. If Americans do not get their act together, they are very likely to suffer from such chronic health conditions. 

Obesity The latest national data compiled by the CDC reveals that more than 40 percent of U.S. adults are now obese. Pixabay