Prevalence and Incidence of Obesity


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About prevalence and incidence statistics: The term 'prevalence' of Obesity usually refers to the estimated population of people who are managing Obesity at any given time. The term 'incidence' of Obesity refers to the annual diagnosis rate, or the number of new cases of Obesity diagnosed each year. Hence, these two statistics types can differ: a short-lived disease like flu can have high annual incidence but low prevalence, but a life-long disease like diabetes has a low annual incidence but high prevalence. For more information see about prevalence and incidence statistics.

Prevalance of Obesity: 39.8 million American adults; more than 57% of American adults are overweight (CDC)
Prevalance Rate: approx 1 in 6 or 14.63% or 39.8 million people in USA [about data]
Worldwide prevalence of Obesity:over 300 million adults worldwide (WHO World Health Report, 2003)
Prevalance of Obesity: More than 60 percent of Americans aged 20 years and older are overweight. One-quarter of American adults are also obese 1

Prevelance of Obesity discussion: Nearly one-quarter of U.S. adults are obese (BMI 30).5

All adults (20+ years old): 39.8 million (22.3 percent)
Women (20+ years old): 23 million (25 percent)
Men (20+ years old): 16.8 million (19.5 percent)
2

The prevalence has steadily increased over the years among nearly all* racial/ethnic groups,5 as shown in the chart below. For example, from 1960 to 1994, the prevalence of overweight (BMI 25 to < 30) increased from 31.6 to 32.6 percent in U.S. adults. The prevalence of obesity (BMI 30) during this same time period increased from 13.4 to 22.3 percent--a relative increase of more than 50 percent--with most of this rise occurring in the past decade. The prevalence of overweight and obesity increases with advancing age until a person reaches his or her sixties, when it starts to decline.5 From 1991 to 1998, obesity increased in every state of the United States, in both genders, and across all races/ethnicities, age groups, educational levels, and smoking statuses.10

* An exception is the prevalence of overweight in white men in their twenties to forties, which decreased from the early 1970s to late 1970s.2

While there is no generally accepted definition for obesity as distinct from overweight in children and adolescents, the prevalence of overweight is increasing for children and adolescents in the United States. Approximately 11 percent of children (ages 6-11) and 11 percent of adolescents (ages 12-17) were overweight* in 1988 to 1994--up from approximately 5 percent in the 1960s and 1970s.11

* Overweight is defined by the sex- and age-specific 95th percentile cutoff points of the revised NCHS/CDC growth charts (preliminary data). The revised growth charts incorporate smoothed BMI percentiles and are based on data from NHES II (1963-1965) and III (1966-1970), and NHANES I (1971-1974), II (1976-1980), and III (1988-1994).2

According to the Surgeon General of the United States, overweight and obesity are increasing in both men and women. The latest estimates are that 34 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 to 74 years are overweight, and an additional 27 percent are obese. About half of all women aged 20 to 74 are overweight or obese. The percentages of obese women among African American, Native American and Mexican American women are even higher.3

Prevelance statistics about Obesity: The following statistics relate to the prevalence of Obesity:

  • 11% of children are obese in the USA (World Heart Federation Fact-Sheet, 2002)
  • 50% of women aged 20 to 74 are overweight or obese in the US (The National Women’s Health Information Center)
  • Obesity prevalence statistics by age group for men in the USA:
    • 24.1% of men aged 20-34 are obese in the US 1999-2000 (Health United States, 2003, NCHS)
    • 25.2% of men aged 35-44 are obese in the US 1999-2000 (Health United States, 2003, NCHS)
    • 30.1% of men aged 45-54 are obese in the US 1999-2000 (Health United States, 2003, NCHS)
    • 32.9% of men aged 55-64 are obese in the US 1999-2000 (Health United States, 2003, NCHS)
    • 33.4% of men aged 65-74 are obese in the US 1999-2000 (Health United States, 2003, NCHS)
    • 20.4% of men aged over 75 are obese in the US 1999-2000 (Health United States, 2003, NCHS)
  • Obesity prevalence statistics by age group for women in the USA:
    • 25.8% of women aged 20-34 are obese in the US 1999-2000 (Health United States, 2003, NCHS)
    • 33.9% of women aged 35-44 are obese in the US 1999-2000 (Health United States, 2003, NCHS)
    • 38.1% of women aged 45-54 are obese in the US 1999-2000 (Health United States, 2003, NCHS)
    • 43.1% of women aged 55-64 are obese in the US 1999-2000 (Health United States, 2003, NCHS)
    • 38.8% of women aged 65-74 are obese in the US 1999-2000 (Health United States, 2003, NCHS)
    • 25.1% of women aged over 75 are obese in the US 1999-2000 (Health United States, 2003, NCHS)
  • Obesity prevalence rates by racial and gender groups in the USA:
    • 21.3% white men in the US 2000 (National Health, 2000 Interview Survey, NCHS, CDC)
    • 19.6% white women in the US 2000 (National Health, 2000 Interview Survey, NCHS, CDC)
    • 24.4% African American men in the US 2000 (National Health, 2000 Interview Survey, NCHS, CDC)
    • 35.9% African American women in the US 2000 (National Health, 2000 Interview Survey, NCHS, CDC)
    • 23% Hispanic/Latino men in the US 2000 (National Health, 2000 Interview Survey, NCHS, CDC)
    • 26.1% Hispanic/Latino women in the US 2000 (National Health, 2000 Interview Survey, NCHS, CDC)
    • 38.9% American Indian and Alaska Native men in the US 2000 (National Health, 2000 Interview Survey, NCHS, CDC)
    • 43.2% American Indian and Alaska Native women in the US 2000 (National Health, 2000 Interview Survey, NCHS, CDC)
    • 6.0% Asian American men in the US 2000 (National Health, 2000 Interview Survey, NCHS, CDC)
    • 8.3% Asian American women in the US 2000 (National Health, 2000 Interview Survey, NCHS, CDC)
  • 52.3% of African American women are obese in the US (The National Women’s Health Information Center)
  • 50.1% of Mexican American women are obese in the US (The National Women’s Health Information Center)
  • Obesity prevalence rate statistics in various countries:
    • 23% of women obese in Canada 1996/97 (Statistics Canada, National Population Health Survey, Health Canada, 1996/97)
    • 33% of men obese in Canada 1996/97 (Statistics Canada, National Population Health Survey, Health Canada, 1996/97)
    • 20% of school children are obese in Beijing (World Heart Federation Fact-Sheet, 2002)
    • 16% of school boys are obese in Saudi (World Heart Federation Fact-Sheet, 2002)
  • Obesity prevalence rate statistics in Australia:
    • 191 men per 1,000 population were obese in Australia 1999-2000 (Australia’s Health 2004, AIHW)
    • 219 women per 1,000 population were obese in Australia 1999-2000 (Australia’s Health 2004, AIHW)


Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Understanding Adult Obesity: NIDDK
2. excerpt from NIDDK _ Statistics Related to Overweight and Obesity: NIDDK
3. excerpt from Obesity: NWHIC

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