Nearly two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight, and 30.5 percent are obese, according to data from the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This fact sheet presents statistics on the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the U.S., as well as their disease, mortality, and economic costs.
To understand these statistics, it is necessary to know how overweight and obesity are defined and measured. This fact sheet also explains why statistics from different sources may not match.
Overweight and obesity are known risk factors for:
- heart disease
- gallbladder disease
- osteoarthritis (degeneration of cartilage and bone of joints)
- sleep apnea and other breathing problems
- some forms of cancer (uterine, breast, colorectal, kidney, and gallbladder)
Obesity is also associated with:
- high blood cholesterol
- complications of pregnancy
- menstrual irregularities
- hirsutism (presence of excess body and facial hair)
- stress incontinence (urine leakage caused by weak pelvic-floor muscles)
- psychological disorders such as depression
- increased surgical risk
Revision date: June 21, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.