U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Overweight and Obesity

Being overweight or obese is associated with an increased risk of numerous diseases and conditions, including high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, certain types of cancer, and reproductive health risks.1 Measurements of overweight and obesity are based on Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a ratio of weight to height. In 2005–2006, 32.4 percent of adults were overweight (BMI of 25.0-29.9), while an additional 33.8 percent were obese (BMI of 30.0 or more; data not shown).

While women and men had similar rates of obesity in 2005–2006 (35.0 and 32.4 percent, respectively), rates among women varied by poverty status. Among women, obesity was lowest among those with higher incomes. More than 40 percent of women with household incomes below 200 percent of the poverty level were obese, compared to 31.6 percent of women with incomes of 300 percent or more of poverty and 33.6 percent of those with incomes of 200–299 percent of poverty. Among men, however, obesity rates did not vary significantly with poverty status.

Women were more likely than men to be severely obese, defined as having a BMI of 40.0 or more (7.3 versus 4.1 percent, respectively). Non-Hispanic Black women were more likely than non-Hispanic White and Hispanic women to be severely obese (13.7 versus 6.6 and 5.4 percent, respectively).

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Overweight and Obesity. November 2007[online]. www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity, accessed 2/13/09.

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