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.1Measurements of overweight and obesity are based on Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a ratio of weight to height. In 2005–2008, twothirds of adults were overweight (66.6 percent; BMI of 25.0 or more); this includes the 33.4 percent of adults who were classified as obese (BMI of 30.0 or more; data not shown).

In 2005–2008, men had higher rates of overweight than women overall (71.4 versus 62.1 percent, respectively); this was only true, however, for non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanics other than Mexican Americans. Non-Hispanic Black women were more likely than non-Hispanic Black men to be overweight (76.3 versus 69.2 percent, respectively), while overweight among Mexican American women and men were not significantly different (72.3 and 75.3 percent, respectively). Non-Hispanic White women were least likely to be overweight (59.9 percent), compared to Hispanic, Mexican American and non-Hispanic Black women.

Overall, 36.1 percent of women aged 25 and older were obese in 2005–2008; this includes 7.4 percent of women who were severely obese (BMI of 40.0 or more). Rates of obesity and severe obesity vary with level of education. Among women aged 25 and older, those with a 4-year degree or more were least likely to be obese (24.1 percent), compared to about 40 percent of women who had not attained that level of education. Similarly, women with a 4-year degree or more were less likely to be severely obese (5.1 percent), than women with a high school diploma or GED and those who attended some college (8.8 and 8.9 percent, respectively).

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Overweight and Obesity. December 2009 [online]. www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity, accessed 12/16/09.

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