Demographics / Cost
Cost of Obesity
An estimated 127 million adults in the U.S. are overweight with 60 million considered obese and 9 million severely obese 23. This equates to 64.5% of adults being overweight, 30.5% obese and 4.7% severely obese 23. The percent of obese individuals in the U.S. has risen nearly 9% from statistics gathered during 1988-1994 and 1999-2000. There has been an overall increase in the percentage of U.S. adults that are overweight, obese and severely overweight from 1976-2000 (Figure 1.1). No data is available for severe obesity in adults for 1976-1980.
Figure 1.1 adapted from Flegal et al. JAMA 2002
Other studies show lower obesity rates, however the prevalence is still considerably high 49,50,51. A similar trend of increase in obesity is found
Age and Gender
The likelihood of being obese increases with age in both men and women. In parallel, physical activity tends to decline with age.
In the year 2000, the prevalence of obesity among women was higher than among men, 34% and 27.7% respectively 23. This was true across all age demographics from 20 years of age to 75 years and older. In the year 2004, obesity prevalence increased significantly among men, about 3.6 percent 58. In the same year, obesity among women did not increase significantly. Increases in body weight may be leveling off among women 58.
After reaching the age of 70, obesity has little effect on the life expectancy of older men and women. However, obesity does effect the development of disability among older adults. Both obese men and women spend more years in disability (having difficulty performing activities of daily living) and less years ofactivity than non-obese men and women of the same age 65.
A rise in obesity prevalence is witnessed in people of all education levels. College graduates are the least likely to be obese. The prevalence of obesity is higher in people with less education. The most current statistics show the following rates of obesity across education levels 12.
- Less than high school: 27.4%
- High school: 23.2%
- Some College: 21.0%
- College: 15.7%
Black (69.6%) and Mexican American (73.4%) adults in the United States experience considerably higher rates of overweight than white (62.3%) adults in the United States 23. Prevalence of obesity across racial groups has increased over the last decade (Figure 1.2). Morbidly obese adults, when compared to normal weight individuals, are more likely to be female, African American, live in the southern U.S., and live in a household with an income below 200% of the federal poverty level.
Figure 1.2 adapted from Flegal et al. JAMA 2002.
Children and Adolescents
Approximately 16% of boys and 14.5% of girls (6-11 yrs old) are obese. In adolescent males and females (12-19 yrs old), 15.5% are obese 59. Overweight children typically remain overweight through adulthood 16.
Obesity prevalence has quadrupled in girls and nearly quadrupled in boys from 1971 to 2000 (Figure 2.1). In the same time span, prevalence of obesity has more than doubled in adolescents of each gender (see link below).
The number of children and adolescents classified as overweight is increasing in prevalence 81. In the year 2004, 17.1% of children and adolescents in the United States were overweight 58. This number represents a 3.3% increase in overweight prevalence among this age group since the year 2000 58.
Figure 2.1 adapted from Ogden et al. JAMA 2002
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the estimated cost of obesity for the U.S. in 2003 was nearly 380 million dollars 54.
The following link requires powerpoint: