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Nutrition Column

Obesity Update

        The prevalence of obesity in the United States has continued to increase over the past half century. The Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) in late February 2020 released the latest adult obesity statistics and brief from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) stating that the adjusted prevalence of obesity in adults is now 42.4%. The first time ever Americanís exceeded 40 percent of the adult population was obese and an increase from the last report stating the prevalence of obesity of 39.8%; just two-years prior. Severe obesity is highest among adults ages 40-59, increasing from 4.7%-9.2%. Trends in the prevalence of severe obesity show that women have higher severe obesity rates than men. From 1999-2000 through 2017-2018, the prevalence of obesity increased among both women and men. Increases in obesity rates in the United States are important to note because obesity has severe implications for physical and psychological health risks. Health risks associated with obesity include coronary heart disease (the leading cause of death in America), certain forms of cancer, as well as, end-stage renal disease, elevated cholesterol levels, type-2 diabetes, and stroke. Obese individuals also spend on average $1,429 more per year on health care than healthy individuals. Monitoring the increase in obesity trends over time is important to public health because individuals must gain awareness of the physical and emotional health consequences along with the added financial burden that obesity brings.

Written by Olivia Vance with Eric Sternlicht, Ph.D., Chapman University, Orange CA.