Obesity is defined as an individual having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater. The population of the United States is plagued by obesity with over one-third of the adults being considered obese. This 34.9% of adults doesn’t include the 17% of youth that is obese within the country according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although these numbers have not increased dramatically since 2010, they have also not decreased. The country failed to meet a goal of reducing obesity to 15%.There is little surprise that weight loss surgery is on the rise in the United States.
Non-Hispanic Blacks had the Highest Prevalence of Obesity. Combining BRFSS ( Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System) data from 2012 through 2014, non-Hispanic blacks had the highest prevalence of self-reported obesity (38.1%), followed by Hispanics (31.3%) and non-Hispanic whites (27.1%) (source).
A new Gallup survey published on Friday shows that the obesity rate among adults surged in 2015 to a new high of 28 percent, or a 2.5 percentage point increase since 2008. That means the ranks of dangerously overweight Americans increased by 6.1 million adults over that seven-year period (source).
A new study in The Lancet says that if current trends continue, 18% of men and 21% of women will be obese by 2025 (source).
Only 2.7 percent of the US adult population achieves all four of some basic behavioral characteristics that researchers say would constitute a ‘healthy lifestyle’ and help protect against cardiovascular disease, a recent study concluded.
In this study, researchers from Oregon State University and the University of Mississippi examined how many adults succeed in four general barometers that could help define healthy behavior: a good diet, moderate exercise, a recommended body fat percentage and being a non-smoker. It’s the basic health advice, in other words, that doctors often give to millions of patients all over the world. Source: Science Daily.
Ethnicity Plays a Role
Not all groups of people are affected by obesity the same way. There are some groups that seem to have a higher rate of obesity than others. Non-Hispanic blacks seem to have the highest rate of obesity coming in at 47.8% over Hispanics at 42.5%, whites coming in at 32.6% and Hispanic Asians at the lowest rate of obesity with 10.8%. There is no statistical data to illuminate the reasoning behind the numbers and differences in obesity over the ethnicities. The differences may come over culture and the approach toward food, health or exercise.
Age Makes a Difference
Age also seems to make a difference when it comes to obesity in the United States. It has been reported that obesity is highest for middle age adults between the ages of 40 and 59 years at 39.5%. Young adults between the ages of 20 and 39 years come in at 30.3% and adults over 60 years at 35.4%. This clearly shows that there is a large problem with obesity throughout the ages in the United States, particularly for adults in their middle ages. The reason for these differences is unclear. It may be due to upbringing for specific ages or the impact that society has had on specific age groups when it comes to food and exercise.
Socioeconomic Status Changes Results
The differences do not end with age, but also seem to be influenced by the socioeconomic status of adults. Non-Hispanic black as well as Mexican-American men seem to be more likely to face obesity than individual of lower incomes. Nearly 33% of men living in households that have an income level at or above 350% of the poverty level tend to be obese. Of men who are in households that are 130% below the poverty level, 29.2% are obese and many of them are suffering from comorbidities relating to their obesity.
In addition, women that have a higher income are less likely to be obese than women that have low incomes. In fact, 29% of the women that live within a household that has an income that is at or over 350% of the United States poverty level tend to be obese. Additionally, 42% of those with an income that is under 130% of poverty level tend to be obese. Education may also have some significance for women and obesity. Women with lower levels of education seem to be more likely to be obese than those with college degrees. Men do not seem to be affected based on their education that way that women are.
The 72.5 million adults in the United States that are obese consist of 41% or 30 million, with incomes at or above 350% of the poverty level, over 39% or 28 million, with incomes that range between 130% and 350% of the US poverty level and 20% or 15 million with incomes that are below 130% of the US poverty level. Out of these numbers most of the obese adults are men and women that are non-Hispanic white individuals with household incomes of 130% of the US poverty level. This exceptionally large number of obese individuals translates to a great deal of health and financial plight for the country.
An enzyme in one part of the brain seems to control appetite in mice, meaning it might one day be possible to curb overeating with medicine.
Interestingly enough location within the United States seems to have some significance as it relates to obesity. Adults that live in the Midwest came in with an obesity rate of 29.5% while those in the South came in at 29.4%. The residence of the Northeast part of the country came in at 25.3% while those in the West came through with 25.1% obese. The state with the highest percentage of obesity was Louisiana at 34.7% in 2012. The state with the lowest percentage of obesity in 2012 was Connecticut at 20.5%.
Financial Ramifications of Obesity
Obesity is more than a health problem for those in the United States. It is fast becoming a financial problem as well. According to CDC average annual medical costs for handling obesity and obesity related comorbidities was $147 billion dollars in 2008. This means that the medical costs for those individuals that are facing obesity were higher than those with a normal weight by $1,429 respectively. Some of these costs are passed on to the United States and a great deal of it is carried by the insurance companies for the individual.
Obesity Related Conditions
Some of the obesity related conditions, also referred to as comorbidities include stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Individuals that are obese tend to have a weaker immune system and are more susceptible to illness. These individuals often find it hard to exercise because of the inability to find the flexibility necessary to do the work. Some individuals that are obese will spend a great deal of time missing work and in morbidly obese individuals work may not be an option due to mobility issues.
Statistically speaking the increase in obesity is something that has not been gradual. While the United States is not alone in the fight against obesity, it does have a large problem at hand. The many conditions that can come from obesity have government branches such as the Chronic Disease Prevention and health Promotion department of the CDC working to find solutions to the problem of obesity. Over 75% of health care money is designated to the treatment of diseases, much of which is due to obesity related conditions.