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Health Team

Obesity in the US Fast Facts

Posted September 2, 2013

Here's a look at obesity in the United States. Obesity is achieved when a person reaches a particular body mass index (BMI).

Adults with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight, while adults with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese.

Obesity can increase the risk of several types of medical issues including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and other diseases.

Statistics: Obesity effects 37.9% of American adults over 20.

The annual medical costs for obesity in the United States is $147 million annually (in 2008 dollars), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The groups with the highest rate of obesity are non-Hispanic blacks (48.1%), Hispanics (42.5%) and non-Hispanic whites (34.5%).

In 2014, no state had an obesity rate below 20%. In Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and West Virginia, 35% or more of the population is obese.

Timeline: 2005-2011 - The USDA introduces the dietary system: MyPyramid Food Guidance System. A more simplified version of the 1992 Food Guide Pyramid, it recommends portion control and physical exercise as part of a healthy life style to combat obesity.

June 2, 2011 - MyPlate replaces USDA food pyramid as the national effort to combat obesity continues. The dietary guidelines are displayed as portions of food on a plate instead of a three-dimensional pyramid.

December 2011 - The Fifth Circuit Court rules that "severe obesity qualifies as a disability" under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

June 26, 2012 - US Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of private-sector experts, recommends all adults be screened for obesity.

November 2015 - The results of the 2013-2014 CDC survey reveal no significant change in the obesity level, which remains above 36% for adults in the United States. However, results confirm that "The prevalence of obesity was higher in women (38.3%) than in men (34.3%)."

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