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How Prevalant is Being Overweight in America?


Updated February 15, 2014

Question: How Prevalant is Being Overweight in America?
How prevalent is being overweight in America?
Answer: Almost two-thirds (about 66%) of U.S. adults age 20 or older are overweight -- about 62% of women and around 71% of men. Nearly one-third (about 31%) of American adults are so overweight that they are considered obese, meaning they have a BMI greater than 30; that breaks down to about 33% of women and 30% of men.

Less than one-third of all U.S. adults age 20 or older are at a healthy weight, which means they have a BMI of 18.5 through 24.9.

The prevalence of overweight has steadily increased over the years among both genders, all ages, racial and ethnic groups, educational levels, and smoking levels.

Recent research has shown that Americans are almost twice as likely as those who live in Europe to become obese. Not coincidentally, Americans have been found to be more likely than Europeans to suffer from chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.


Dobbs, Ashante. "Emory Study Shows Chronic Diseases Cost U.S. $100-$150 Billion Yearly " 2 Oct 2007. Emory WHSC:: Press Releases. 29 Oct 2007.

National Center for Health Statistics. Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans. Health, United States, 2006. Hyattsville, MD: Public Health Service. 2006 as quoted in National Institutes of Health. Win - Statistics. 12 Oct 2007.

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