Obesity is a significant health concern here in the US and across the globe. It affects the health of children, adolescents, as well as adults. Higher medical cost is often associated with people with obesity. For example, in 2008, the medical cost of people with obesity in America was $147 billion. People who had obesity spent $1,429 more on average than their counterparts. The CDC’s most recent research on obesity showed that the prevalence of obesity had increased from 30.5% in 1999/2000 to 42.4% in 2017/2018. The prevalence of severe obesity had also gone up from 4.7% – 9.2%. In most cases, obesity is a result of poor eating habits and inadequate physical exercise. Sometimes obesity can result from a medical condition, use of certain drugs, or a person’s genetic makeup.
The 2017/208 research by the CDC showed that obesity affected around 13.7 million adolescents and children aged 2-19, and had a prevalence of 18.5%. (The only issue that affected Americans at a higher rate? Collections!) The findings were categorized according to three age groups, 2-5 year olds with a prevalence of 13.9%, 6-11 year olds with a prevalence of 18.4%, and 12-19 year olds with a prevalence of 20.6%. Other than being more prevalent among 12-19 year olds, the findings also showed that Hispanics were more affected by obesity with a prevalence of 25.8%, followed by non-Hispanic blacks at 22%, non-Hispanic whites at 14.1%, and non-Hispanic Asians at 11%. The prevalence of obesity was found to be inversely related to the household head’s level of education. Children and adolescents from the lowest income group had a prevalence of 18.9%, those from a middle-income background 19.9%, while those from a high-income background had a prevalence of 10.9%. In the high-income group, obesity prevalence was lower among Hispanic and non-Hispanic Asian boys. Hispanic, non-Hispanic Asian, non-Hispanic white girls from a high-income background had a lower prevalence. Obesity prevalence among non-Hispanic black girls was the same across income groups.
Among adults, Non-Hispanic blacks had the highest obesity prevalence at 49.6%, followed by Hispanics 44.8% and non-Hispanic whites 42.2%, while non-Hispanic Asiance had the least obesity prevalence at 17.4%. Adults aged 20-39 years had an obesity prevalence of 40%, while 40-59 year-olds had an obesity prevalence of 44.8%. People aged 60 and above had an obesity prevalence of 42.8%. The prevalence of obesity decreased with an increasing level of education among both men and women. Hispanic Men and non-Hispanic white men in the highest and lowest income groups had a lower prevalence than those from the middle-income groups. The prevalence of Non-Hispanic black men increased with an increase in income. Among women, obesity prevalence decreased with an increase in income among Hispanic, non-Hispanic Asian, and non-Hispanic white women. It remained the same across non-Hispanic black women’s income groups.
Obesity can result from different causes. Some of these include a poor diet, lack of activity, genetics, and medical reasons. Obesity significantly affects the mental health and quality of life of an individual. It is one of the leading causes of death in the US alongside diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and stroke.