The adult obesity rate in the United States remains as high as ever, with one in three Americans carrying unhealthy amounts of weight, according to a new federal report.
The obesity rate has remained essentially unchanged for a decade, despite the large amount of attention focused on its threat to public health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.
This persistent rate has proved frustrating to public-health experts, given that obesity is a leading risk factor for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
The obesity epidemic continues to gnaw away at America’s economic potential. The U.S. economy loses an estimated $270 billion a year due to health care costs and loss of productivity associated with obesity and overweight, according to a 2011 report produced by the Society of Actuaries.
The CDC report found that nearly 35 percent of American adults are obese, with a body-mass index—a measurement of body fat based on height and weight—greater than 30. That equates to a person 5 feet 4 inches tall who weighs 175 pounds or more, or a person 5 feet 9 inches tall who weights 203 pounds or more.
The report also included the following U.S. figures:
- The prevalence of obesity is higher among middle-aged adults (39.5 percent) than among younger (30.3 percent) or older (35.4 percent) adults.
- Overall, men and women have similar rates of obesity. However, 56.6 percent of black women were obese compared with 37.1 percent of black men.
- Blacks have the highest obesity rate (47.8 percent), followed by Hispanics (42.5 percent) and whites (32.6 percent). Asians have the lowest obesity rate (10.8 percent).