Obesity is Common, Serious and Costly: Adult Obesity Facts

African-American women have the highest rates of being overweight1 or obese compared to other groups in the U.S. About four out of five African-American women are overweight or obese. About 70% of African-American men are overweight or obese. Here’s more information about the impact of obesity on Americans from the Office of Minority Health:

  • More than 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.
  • People who are overweight are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, high levels of blood fats, and LDL cholesterol — all risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
  • In 2014, African Americans were 80% less likely to engage in an active physical activity as Non-Hispanic whites.
  • Deaths rates from heart disease and stroke are higher for African-Americans as compared to whites.

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Obesity is common, serious and costly2

  1. More than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity.
  2. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.
  3. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

Defining Adult Overweight and Obesity3

(Are Black People “big boned”)

“There is such a thing as being big boned, but it’s not a medical term,” spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Claudette Lajam, M.D., tells The Huffington Post. “People have different sized frames … they’re responsible for you being a bigger person overall, but in general, they’re not responsible for you being overweight.”

While a larger frame may account for a couple of pounds, she says, it’s definitely not getting you off the hook for an extra 30. “Most people’s weight is carried in their soft tissue — muscle, fatty tissue, their organs,” says Lajam, “so blaming extra weight on your bones is not accurate4.

That was a great excuse for Jay Harold, but a a lack of portion control and eating everything put in front of him may play a larger role than I want to admit. The tools used to measure your weight and obesity applies to everyone.

Weight that is greater than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is described as overweight or obese. Body Mass Index, or BMI, is used as a screening tool for overweight or obesity.

Adult Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness.

To calculate BMI, see the Adult BMI Calculator or determine BMI by finding your height and weight in this BMI Index Chart.

  • If your BMI is less than 18.5, it falls within the underweight range.
  • If your BMI is 18.5 to <25, it falls within the normal.
  • If your BMI is 25.0 to <30, it falls within the overweight range.
  • If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the obese range.

Obesity is frequently subdivided into categories:

  • Class 1: BMI of 30 to < 35
  • Class 2: BMI of 35 to < 40
  • Class 3: BMI of 40 or higher. Class 3 obesity is sometimes categorized as “extreme” or “severe” obesity.

Note: At an individual level, BMI can be used as a screening tool but is not diagnostic of the body fatness or the health of an individual. A trained healthcare provider should perform appropriate health assessments to evaluate an individual’s health status and risks.

See the following table for example.

Height Weight Range BMI Considered
5′ 9″ 124 lbs or less Below 18.5 Underweight
125 lbs to 168 lbs 18.5 to 24.9 Healthy weight
169 lbs to 202 lbs 25.0 to 29.9 Overweight
203 lbs or more 30 or higher Obese
271 lbs or more 40 or higher Class 3 Obese

BMI does not measure body fat directly, but research has shown that BMI is moderately correlated with more direct measures of body fat obtained from skinfold thickness measurements, bioelectrical impedance, underwater weighing, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and other methods. Furthermore, BMI appears to be strongly correlated with various adverse health outcomes consistent with these more direct measures of body fatness.

For more information about BMI, visit Body Mass Index.

Black Americans have the highest age-adjusted rates of obesity

  • Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest age-adjusted rates of obesity (48.1%) followed by Hispanics (42.5%), non-Hispanic whites (34.5%), and non-Hispanic Asians (11.7%). Obesity is higher among middle age adults age 40-59 years (40.2%) and older adults age 60 and over (37.0%) than among younger adults age 20–39 (32.3%).

Obesity and socioeconomic status

  • Among non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American men, those with higher incomes are more likely to have obesity than those with low income.
  • Higher income women are less likely to have obesity than low-income women.
  • There is no significant relationship between obesity and education among men. Among women, however, there is a trend—those with college degrees are less likely to have obesity compared with less educated women.

Physical Activity Statistics5

Obesity is Common, Serious and Costly: Adult Obesity Facts


Research Findings

  • Research suggests that staying active may lower a person’s chance of getting heart disease, stroke, some cancers, type 2 diabetes, and other conditions.
  • Researchers believe that some physical activity is better than none. Extra health benefits can be gained by increasing how often and intensely one exercise and how long each session lasts.

Government guidelines recommend that healthy adults take part in aerobic activity of moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes a week or vigorous intensity for 75 minutes a week.6 Aerobic activity uses large muscles such as the legs and back and makes the heart beat faster. Also, the guidelines recommend that people do activities that strengthen muscles (such as weight training or push-ups) at least twice a week.

31 million adults age 50 or older are inactive!

Regular physical activity is vital for healthy aging. It can help delay, prevent, or manage many costly chronic diseases faced by adults 50 years or older. Physical activity can also reduce the risk of premature death. Despite these benefits, 31 million adults age 50 or older are inactive. Adults who cannot meet Physical Activity Guidelines (i.e., 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week) should be as active as their abilities or conditions allow.

Getting any amount of physical activity still offers some health benefits. Some are better than none. Helping inactive people become more active is a major step towards better health. Communities that offer design enhancements and healthy lifestyle programs can create a culture that supports physical activity.Obesity is Common, Serious and Costly: Adult Obesity Facts

10 minutes at a time of physical activity is okay

We know 150 minutes each week sounds like a lot of time, but it’s not. That’s 2 hours and 30 minutes, about the same amount of time you might spend watching a movie. The good news is that you can spread your activity out during the week, so you don’t have to do it all at once. You can even break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day. It’s about what works best for you, as long as you’re doing physical activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time. Set a goal to do 10 minutes more this week than you did last week.

Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight7 (CDC)

A healthy lifestyle involves many choices. Among them, choosing a balanced diet or healthy eating plan. So how do you choose a healthy eating plan? Let’s begin by defining what a healthy eating plan is.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, a healthy eating plan:

  • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
  • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
  • Stays within your daily calorie needs

Click this link to get free Health and Wealth information to improve your life. Play the free  “Slow Roll Through Civil Rights” Game found on the Jay Harold website. Enjoyed this post? Share it and read more here.

Please take this advice of  Muhammad Ali and give back to others. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” ~ Muhammad Ali

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