U.S. Obesity Epidemic Getting Worse

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Only 25% of men and 33% of women in the U.S. are at a healthy weight, researchers say.
Only 25% of men and 33% of women in the U.S. are at a healthy weight, researchers say.

(HealthDay News) -- About 35% of men and 37% of women are obese, while 40% of men and 30% of women are overweight, according to a research letter published online in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Lin Yang, Ph.D., and Graham A. Colditz, M.D., Dr.P.H., of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey gathered between 2007 and 2012, involving 15,208 men and women age 25 and older.

Based on the data, the researchers estimate that more than 36 million men and nearly 29 million women in the United States are currently overweight. About 32 million men and 36 million women are obese. More Americans are overweight and obese today compared with federal survey data gathered between 1988 and 1994, Yang told HealthDay. Back then, 63% of men and 55% of women were either overweight or obese, with a body mass index of 25 kg/m² or greater. Today, around 75% of men and about 67% of women are either overweight or obese, according to the study.

"This generation of Americans is the first that will have a shorter life expectancy than the previous generation, and obesity is one of the biggest contributors to this shortened life expectancy because it is driving a lot of chronic health conditions," Yang said.


  1. Lin Yang, PhD; Graham A. Colditz, MD, DrPH. JAMA Intern Med, published online June 22, 2015; doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.2405.
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