Obesity is a serious medical condition in which the excess body fat is accumulated to that extent to endanger overall health, cause many health problems and dramatically reduce individual’s life expectancy. People are considered obese if their body mass index, which is a measurement that compares weight and height, is greater than 30 kg/m2. Obesity is a serious health problem in the United States, and its rates are dramatically increasing. This is something that many industrialized countries share in common. However, obesity rates in the United States are possibly highest in the world.
Obesity statistics in the United States
Obesity rates in the United States have steadily increased from 19.4% in 1997, 24.5% in 2004 to 26.6% in 2007. This actually means that in this moment more than a quarter of all United States citizens are considered severely overweight. Obesity primarily affected adults but, according to the statistics, this has dramatically changed in the last couple of decades. Obesity is now frequent even among the children and adolescents and the official statistics said that 15-25 percent of American children are nowadays obese. This probably results from sedentary lifestyle and consumption of fast foods. Between the years of 2003 and 2006, 11.3 percent of children and adolescents were obese and 16.3 percent were overweight. The highest rates of obesity in adults are observed in the state of Alabama, where 30.1% of adults are considered obese. Highest rates of obese children are found in the state of Delaware, as 22.8% of their young population meets the criteria for obesity.
African American and Mexican American between 12 and 19 years old are at the highest risk of obesity than non-Hispanic White adolescents, as the prevalence is 21%, 23% and 14% respectively. Medical costs of obesity are estimated to be $75 billion only in the 2003.
Obesity has major effects on health. Excessive body weight is tightly associated with some of the most dangerous health conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus type 2, obstructive sleep apnea, particular types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. Moreover, obesity is the world’s major preventable cause of death. The mortality rates are much lower in people with a body mass index of 20-25kg/m2. According to the statistics, obesity causes 111,909 to 365,000 deaths per year, only in the United States, and it generally reduces the individual’s life expectancy by six to seven years. Severe obesity, defined as having a body mass index larger than 40, reduces life expectancy for up to 10 years.