Overweight and obesity are associated with various chronic conditions. These conditions are considerable health care and societal burdens, yet could potentially be averted by preventing weight gain and obesity. In a prior analysis, now almost 20 years old, Must et al used a nationally representative data set from 1988 through 1994 and reported the US chronic disease burden associated with body mass index (BMI), thus informing clinical practice and the priorities for cost-effective prevention strategies. Using the most recent data in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, 2007-2012), we updated the prevalence of overweight and obesity by sex, age, and race/ethnicity and compared the values with those of the earlier study.

Researchers looked at NHANES data for people 25 years or older, who weren’t pregnant, from 2007-2012. Specifically, they looked at people’s BMI to see if they were underweight (<18.5), normal weight (18.5-24.9), overweight (25.0-29.9), of obese ( >= 30.0). They further classified obesity into classes: class 1 (30.0-34.9), class 2 (35.0-39.9), and class 3 (≥40).

Very few people were underweight. Unfortunately, not a ton were normal weight either. But here’s the news: About 40% of men were overweight, as were 30% of women. Worse, 35% of men and 37% of women were obese.

If you extrapolate these numbers to the US population, that means that 65,219,927 people in the US are overweight, and 67,639,931 are obese. More people 25 years old and older are now obese than overweight.

This isn’t good, right?