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Obesity is a public health epidemic in the US. More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of our nation's adults are obese.1

Obesity-related conditions include some of the leading causes of preventable death. Research has shown that as weight increases to the levels referred to as "overweight" and "obese", the risks for the following conditions also increases:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
  • Stroke
  • Liver and Gallbladder disease
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
  • Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)2

Overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher, and obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher.2

The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the US in 2008 was $147 billion, and the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.1

Obesity affects some groups more than others. African Americans have the highest age-adjusted rates of obesity (47.8%), followed by Latinos (42.5%), whites (32.6%), and Asians (10.8%).1

Being overweight or obese is caused by an energy imbalance (eating too many calories and not getting enough physical activity). Behavior, environment, and genetic factors influence the likelihood of obesity. Behavior and environment are the most effective areas for prevention and treatment, and these are the areas where C-UPHD intervenes.2

Watch a US obesity trends video from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More updated obesity prevalence maps from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are available at this website.