Overweight and obesity : facts and statistics

What is overweight and obesity ?

Overweight and obesity are defined by the World Health Organization  (WHO)  as excessive and abnormal fat accumulation that poses a risk to a person’s health. The crude population scale for obesity is the Body Mass Index (BMI), the weight of a person (in kilograms) divided by the square of its length (in meters). A person with a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. Anyone with a BMI equal to or greater than 25 is considered overweight.

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Obesity is classified as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater.

Three decades ago, the obesity rate for adults was 15%. Today, the rate has more than doubled to 35%. At the same time, calories consumed by adults have gone from 1,996 to 2,234 a day.

Risks associated with obesity ?

Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. These are some of the leading causes of preventable death.

The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illness are $190.2 billion or nearly 21% of annual medical spending in the United States.

Obesity-related job absenteeism costs $4.3 billion annually and obese people spend 42 percent more on healthcare costs than healthy weight people.

African Americans have the highest age-adjusted rates of obesity (47.8%) followed by Hispanics (42.5%), Caucasians (32.6%), and Asians (10.8%).

Obesity in men and women

There is no significant relationship between obesity and education among men. Among women, however, there is a trend—those with college degrees are less likely to be obese compared with less educated women. Higher income women are less likely to be obese than low-income women.

Top fattest countries

The United States is the 8th fattest country in the world with 31.8% of the population being overweight.

The top 3 fattest countries are Egypt with 33.6%, Saudi Arabia with 35.2%, and Kuwait with 42.8%.

The fattest states in Unites States are Delaware with 34.3% of its population being obese, West Virginia with 34.4%, and Mississippi with 35.4%.

While obesity is a major health and economic issue, recent studies have shown that childhood obesity among 2 to 5 year olds has gone down from 14% in 2004 to 8.4% in 2012.