- Obesity is a chronic, progressive disease medically defined as a body mass index (BMI), a ratio of height to weight, of 30 kg/m or more.
- Nearly 40% of U.S. adults have obesity, the highest incidence ever recorded.
- Obesity is linked to more than 40 diseases including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis and at least 13 different types of cancer.
- Severe obesity (BMI of 40 or more) affects nearly 8% of adults aged 20 and older7 and is associated with a 50-100% increased risk of premature death.
- Bariatric surgery, also known as weight-loss surgery or metabolic surgery, is the standard of care for treating severe obesity.
- ASMBS estimates less than 1% of the 24 million U.S. adults who may qualify for a bariatric surgery have the procedure each year.
Prevalence – A Growing Epidemic
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third (39.8%) of U.S. adults – 93.3 million people – have obesity (2015-2016).
- Prevalence among adults aged 40-59 is higher than among adults aged 20-39 (42.8% vs. 35.7%)
- Adults aged 60 and older experience obesity at a slightly higher rate than those under 60 (41% vs.39.3%)
- Rates of obesity are similar among men and women, both overall and within individual age groups.
- Non-Hispanic whites have lower rates of obesity (37.9%) compared with all Hispanics (47.0%) and non-Hispanic blacks (46.8%).
- No state has a prevalence of obesity less than 20% — 22 states have a prevalence between 25-30% and 25 states have a prevalence greater than 30% (CDC, 2016).
Causes of Obesity
- Obesity is no longer considered a lifestyle choice or simply the result of a lack of will power. The American Medical Association (A.M.A.), World Health Organization (W.H.O.), along with many medical societies now recognize obesity as a chronic progressive disease resulting from multiple environmental and strong genetic factors.
- Due to its progressive nature, obesity requires life-long treatment and control
- Factors contributing to obesity include genetics, metabolism, behavior, environment and economic status.
- Chronic low-level inflammation associated with excess weight contributes to disruption of lipid and glucose metabolism, the consequences of which include hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
- Behavioral factors can include dietary patterns, physical inactivity and medication use.
- Community culture, education, and food marketing are among environmental factors.
Health Risks – BMI of 30 is a Turning Point for Increased Disease
- Obesity is the fifth leading risk of death around the world and is attributed to 5% of all preventable global deaths each year.
- BMI of 40 or more is associated with a 50-100% increased risk of premature death compared to healthy weight individuals.
- Obesity reduces life expectancy by nine years for women and by 12 years for men.
- Obesity is associated with more than 40 diseases and causes of death including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, infertility, liver disease and high blood pressure.
- Obesity-related cancers account for 40% of all cancers diagnosed in the U.S. (CDC, 2014).
- Rates of 12 out of 13 obesity-related cancers increased by 7% from 2005 to 2014 while cancers not associated with overweight and obesity fell by 13%.
Economics of Obesity
- According to CDC, the medical costs of obesity in the U.S. are estimated to be $147 billion.
- Research suggest that the percentage of U.S. health spending on treatment of obesity-related illnesses in adults climbed 29% between 2001 and 2015.
- Obesity costs the global economy about $2 trillion annually or 2.8% of global GDP, which is comparable to the costs of smoking or of armed violence, war, and terrorism combined.
- Individuals with obesity have 42% higher healthcare costs than people of normal weight; for people with severe obesity, healthcare costs are 81% higher.
- Each 1-point increase in BMI leads to a 4% increase in medical costs and a 7% increase in pharmaceutical costs.
Body Mass Index
|Normal Weight||Overweight||Class I Obesity||Class II Obesity||Class III Obesity|
|BMI 18.9-24.9||BMI 25-29.9||BMI 30-34.9||BMI 35-39.9||BMI 40 or higher|
- Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on the calculation of a person’s height and weight.
- To calculate BMI visit: ASMBS.org/calculate-your-bmi/
- To learn more about what your BMI means, visit: www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmi_dis.htm
View the attached PDF for a full list of References.