Statistics on Overweight Americans: Estimates and Survey-based Statistics

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Our body requires minimum amount of fat for the proper functioning of the immune, hormonal and reproductive systems. A minimum amount of body fat also functions as a shock absorber for sensitive areas and as thermal insulation. But, too much fat accumulated on our body can be unhealthy. It can alter our body’s appearance and can discourage our flexibility.

The term ‘Overweight’ or ‘Obesity’ is defined as “labels for ranges of weight that are more than what is generally considered healthy for a given height” (courtesy: In simple terms, overweight implies accumulating more body fat on our body than what is considered healthy. There are various causes of being overweight. Apart from limited physical exercise and sedentary lifestyles, other main causes responsible for being overweight are: overeating, stress, alcoholism, hormonal imbalances, and even poor nutrition!

Statistics on Overweight Americans

According to the World Health Organization, over one billion adults are overweight worldwide (WHO World Health Report 2003). In the United States alone, the prevalence of overweight American adults is about 97.1 million. This prevalence of obesity continues to be a grave health concern among, adults, adolescents and children. Here are some significant statistics of overweight Americans in the United States:

• A recent survey conducted by National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in 2005-2006 revealed that about 33.3 American adult men were obese. The latest studies done by NCHS in 2003 revealed that 66.4 percent adult men aged over 75 years are overweight whereas 58 percent of adult men aged 20-24 are obese in the United States.

• Studies by the World Heart Federation (WHF) reveal that 1 in 4 children are overweight in the USA. As per estimates by WHF, about 22 million children under 5 years are overweight. (World Heart Federation Fact-Sheet, 2002). A Recent NHANES survey found that about 16.3 percent children and adolescents were overweight (2003-2006).

• According to the National Women’s Health Information Center, about 50 percent of women aged 20 to 74 are overweight in the US. The prevalence of overweight among adult women was 35.3 percent in 2005-2006 as per the latest data derived from the NHANES survey.

• Estimates for total expenditure spent to curb obesity are more than $95 billion. About 5.7 percent of the U.S health expenditure is spent on curbing obesity.

The prevalence of Obesity or Overweight among adults, children and adolescents in America is certainly a matter of concern since it increases the risk of many health conditions and disease including Coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, colon and breast cancers and other problems. (Source: