Someone who is considered to be obese has a BMI of 30.0 or higher. Obesity is a growing concern in the United States and around the world. The United States ranks 12th in the world for obesity. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 36.9% of American adults age 20 and older were obese based on 2015-2016 data. 37.9% of men and 41.1% of women are considered to be obese in the United States. This is twice as many as three decades ago. Approximately 15% of children and teens are overweight, three times as many as there were in the 1980s.
Obesity is the result of several factors such as overeating, lack of physical activity, poor diet choices, genetics, metabolism, and culture. Americans are more likely to consume simple carbohydrates, convenient fast food, and processed pre-packaged foods. These foods tend to be higher in calories, less filling, and less nutrient-dense, causing people to consume more calories than they need. This caloric surplus combined with a lack of physical activity and exercise causes weight gain over time.
Obesity can lead to increased health risks such as type 2 diabetes, nerve damage, kidney disease, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death behind tobacco use. Because of the lasting and significant impacts of obesity, it is a significant factor in determining the healthiest and unhealthiest states.
According to The State of Obesity, the most recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data shows that 12 states now have obesity rates above 35%. Between 2018 and 2019, Michigan and Pennsylvania saw increases in their adult obesity rates, and Florida saw a decrease. Other states' and D.C.'s rates remained about the same.
The ten states with the lowest obesity rates are: Colorado (23.8%), District of Columbia (23.8%), Hawaii (25.0%), Massachusetts (25.2%), California (26.3%), Vermont (26.5), Florida (27.0%), New York (27.1%), New Jersey (27.3%), and Washington/Montana (28.3%). Colorado's low obesity rate can be attributed to its culture and lifestyle. Many residents enjoy outdoor activities, such as hiking, and are generally conscious of eating whole, nutrient-dense foods, and their own wellbeing. Mississippi is the most obese U.S. state, with an obesity rate of 40.8%. Mississippi also has the lowest life expectancy of 74.5 years. West Virginia follows with an obesity rate of 39.7% and has the highest rate of type 2 diabetes in the U.S. at 15.7%.
Obesity Is A Major Health Concern in the United States
Obesity is a disease that is, unfortunately, quite common in the United States. There are a number of conditions that are related to obesity. These include some kinds of cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Unfortunately, the percentage of Americans that are obese has significantly increased since the start of the 21st century in 2000.
The percentage of American adults that were obese in 1999-2000, according to the data, was 30.5%. However, that percentage is significantly higher according to the most recent data, which was gathered from 2017-2018. The percentage of obese American adults in 2017-2018 was 42.4%. This trend has largely remained consistent since 1999-2000. The only exception to this is that the percentage of American adults that were obese decreased from 34.3% in 2005-2006 to 33.7% in 2007-2008. However, even this is only a slight decrease and the percentage of obese American adults increased again to 35.7% in 2009-2010.
Severe Obesity Has Also Increased in Recent Years
The percentage of adult Americans that are severely obese has only increased in recent years, too. As we see in the data, the percentage of severely obese adult Americans rose from 4.7% in 1999-2000 to 9.2% in 2017-2018. The percentage of severely obese adult Americans has not significantly increased since 2015-2016, but it has increased nonetheless.
Obesity Is Most Prevalent in Black American Adults
According to the data, non-Hispanic black American adults have the highest obesity prevalence when you adjust for age. According to the most recent data from the survey, 49.6% of non-Hispanic black adults in the United States are obese. The data also shows that Hispanic adults have the second-highest prevalence of obesity, since 44.8% of Hispanic adults are obese, based on the data. The most recent data on this subject is from 2017-2018.
Non-Hispanic white American adults had the third-highest percentage of obesity. The survey indicates that 42.2% of non-Hispanic white American adults are obese when you adjust for age. The ethnic group that has the lowest percentage of obesity according to the data is non-Hispanic Asian-American adults. The data indicates that 17.4% of Asian-American adults are obese.
Childhood Obesity Is Also A Major Health Concern in the US
Childhood obesity is definitely a serious health issue in the United States. The percentage of children and adolescents aged 2-19 that are obese according to the latest data from 2017-2018 is 19.3%. In other words, approximately 14.4 million adolescents and children are obese in the United States. When answering what percent of Americans are obese, it is also crucial to note that the percentage of childhood obesity is highest among adolescents aged 12-19. The percentage of obese American adolescents aged 12-19 is 21.2%.
Middle-Aged Americans Are More Likely to Be Obese
Age is another factor that is important to consider when talking about obese Americans. Adult Americans that are aged 20-39 have an obesity prevalence of 40%, meaning 40% of them are obese. This percentage increases among adult Americans aged 40-59, since 44.8% of them are obese, according to the latest data. The prevalence of obesity is 42.8% among American adults aged 60 and older, meaning 42.8% of them are obese, according to the data.