HEALTH STATUS >
OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY
Being overweight or obese increases the risk for numerous
ailments, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease,
stroke, arthritis, cancer, and poor reproductive health.1 The National
Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from the National
Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) was used to measure the Body
Mass Index (BMI) of a representative sample of the U.S. population.
For NHANES, BMI is based on height and weight, as measured by health
professionals, and may be more accurate than surveys that rely on
self-reporting of these measurements by participants.
In 2003, men of all ages were more likely to be obese than their
female counterparts. The highest rate of overweight and obesity
among men (73.4 percent) occurred in the 65 to 74 age group; the
highest rate among women (67.0 percent) also occurred among those
65 to 74 years of age.
Overall, 27.3 percent of adult women are overweight and 31.6 percent
are obese, but these rates vary by race and ethnicity. Hispanic
women had the highest rate of overweight (32.7 percent), while Non-Hispanic
White women had the lowest rate (26.0 percent). Non-Hispanic Black
women had the highest rate of obesity (45.3 percent), followed by
Hispanic women (34.5 percent). Overall, Non-Hispanic Black women
were the most likely to be overweight or obese (72.6 percent).
1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National
Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Overweight
and obesity. June 2004. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/