40% of American adults are obese, a sharp increase from a decade earlier and a record high. according to federal health officials.
A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) sampling of 27,449 adults with a BMI between 30 and 40 found that among those aged 20 years and older, obesity went from 33.7% in 2007-2008 to 39.6% in 2015-2016. Severe obesity - those with a BMI above 40, jumped from 5.7% to 7.7% over the same period.
The increase in obesity among the 16,875 youth sampled was much lower, going from 16.8% a decade ago to 18.5% in 2015-2016. Still pretty bad.
For reference, this kid was considered fat in 1985...
The CDC has prepared handy list of statistics as well as maps of average obesity by state, as well as by race. In a nutshell, the south is a hotbed of obesity.
- Obesity decreased by level of education. Adults without a high school degree or equivalent had the highest self-reported obesity
- Young adults were half as likely to have obesity as middle-aged adults.
Obesity Prevalence in 2016 Varies Across States and Territories
- All states had more than 20% of adults with obesity.
- 35% or more adults had obesity in 5 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia).
- The South had the highest prevalence of obesity (32.0%), followed by the Midwest (31.4%), the Northeast (26.9%), and the West (26.0%).
Public health experts said that they were alarmed by the continuing rise in obesity among adults and by the fact that efforts to educate people about the health risks of a poor diet do not seem to be working. -Miami Herald
“Most people know that being overweight or obese is unhealthy, and if you eat too much that contributes to being overweight,” says Dr. James Krieger, clinical professor of medicine at the University of Washington and executive director of the advocacy group Healthy Food America. “But just telling people there’s a problem doesn’t solve it.”
Unfortunately, as The Herald notes, the recent reports on American "greatness" comes at a time when the food industry's pushback against nutritional labeling was answered by a Trump administration proposal during recent NAFTA negotiations which would limit the ability for the U.S., Mexico and Canada to require prominent labels warning of health risks.
So transparency over nutrition looks to be shrinking...
Meanwhile, here's a 2011 map of states in which U.S. adults are meeting aerobic and muscle-strengthening guidelines, courtesy of the CDC.
And as The Herald also notes, Americans are cramming their craws with more fast food than ever...
While the latest survey data do not explain why Americans continue to get heavier, nutritionists and other experts cite lifestyle, genetics and, most importantly, a poor diet as factors. U.S. fast-food sales rose 22.7 percent from 2012-2017, according to Euromonitor, while packaged-food sales rose 8.8 percent. -Miami Herald
In other words, Novo Nordisk is probably going to sell a lot of insulin in the coming decades, notwithstanding the development of a lab-grown pancreas or similar scientific breakthroughs.