Adult Obesity Adult Obesity
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Latest Findings Adult Obesity Obesity is a national epidemic, causing higher medical costs and a lower quality of life. Obesity means having excess body fat. Obesity is defined by body mass index, or BMI, which is calculated from your height and weight. BMI greater than or equal to 30 means you are obese. Non-Hispanic black women and Hispanics have the highest rates of obesity (41.9% and 30.7%). Obesity is a contributing cause of many other health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer. These are some of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Obesity can cause sleep apnea and breathing problems and make activity more difficult. Obesity can also cause problems during pregnancy or make it more difficult for a woman to become pregnant. Obese persons require more costly medical care. This places a huge financial burden on our medical care system. Why is this epidemic happening? Weight gain occurs when people eat too much food and get too little physical activity. Societal and community changes have accompanied the rise in obesity. People eat differently: Some Americans have less access to stores and markets that provide healthy, affordable food such as fruits and vegetables, especially in rural, minority and lower-income neighborhoods. Restaurants, snack shops, and vending machines provide food that is often higher in calories and fat than food made at home. There is too much sugar in our diet. Six out of 10 adults drink at least 1 sugary drink per day. It is often easier and cheaper to get less healthy foods and beverages. Foods high in sugar, fat, and salt are highly advertised and marketed. Many communities are built in ways that make it difficult or unsafe to be physically active: Access to parks and recreation centers may be difficult or lacking and public transportation may not available. Safe routes for walking or biking to school, work, or play may not exist. Too few students get quality, daily physical education in school