Overweight and obesity today

In the United States, obesity is the second highest preventable cause of death1. Obesity has been known to be strongly associated with severe health risks, such as cardiovascular disease and pre-mature death2.

The rapid rise in prevalence of overweight and obese individuals is staggering, and has been referred to as the “obesity crisis.”  A 2005-06 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey indicated that at the time, 34.3% of adults aged 20 and over had a body mass index of 30.0 or higher (categorically obese)2.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, the prevalence of adult obesity has greatly increased between 1998-1994 and 2007-20083.  Similar trends are being noted in the increase in childhood obesity4.

Organizations and movements around the nation have been initiated to combat the steady rise in the prevalence of overweight and obesity, such as New York City’s ‘New York City Coalition Against Hunger,’ organization and the First Lady Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move!’ movement.

Interested in learning more?  Check out relevant publications to learn more about overweight and obesity across the nation.


1 Wang, Y., & Beydoun, M. A. (2007). The obesity epidemic in the United States–gender, age, socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and geographic characteristics: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis. Epidemiol Rev, 29, 6-28.

2 Flegal, K. M., Carroll, M. D., Kuczmarski, R. J., & Johnson, C. L. (1998). Overweight and obesity in the United States: prevalence and trends, 1960-1994. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord, 22(1), 39-47.

3National Center for Health Statistics. (2010). Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity, and Extreme Obesity Among Adults: United States, Trends 1960–1962 Through 2007–2008. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

4National Center for Health Statistics. (2010). Prevalence of Obesity Among Children and Adolescents: United States, Trends 1963–1965 Through 2007–2008. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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