Obesity is one of the most severe issues in the modern world. Becoming overweight or obese seems easy, especially compared to the amount of time you need to lose weight.
Obesity statistics are not pretty, but they must be shared and known. If we want to end this global problem or just reduce it, we have to spread awareness. America is one of the world’s most obese countries, and the situation isn’t getting better.
With that in mind, let’s talk about global, American, and child obesity statistics, which are all relevant in 2021.
Top Ten Alarming Obesity Statistics and Facts
- In 2005, over a billion people were overweight, and over 300 million were obese.
- In 2016, over 1.9 billion adults were overweight, and more than 650 million were obese.
- In 2016, there were over 41 million overweight preschool children.
- Obesity is one of the five major mortality risks and one of the most significant chronic disease risks.
- The highest percentage of obese Americans in 2018 was 44.8%, among middle-aged adults aged 40 to 59 years.
- In 2014, there were 17.2% of obese children and adolescents between the ages of 2 and 19.
- US Obesity levels decrease with education, and college graduates were the least obese, with a 24.7% obesity rate.
- In 2019, more than 38 million children younger than five years old were obese.
- Obesity causes some of the leading premature death conditions, which can be prevented.
- Global overweight and obesity deaths outnumber underweight deaths.
General Facts and Obesity Statistics Worldwide
Before we dwell further, let’s get the basic numbers and facts straight first. What it means to be obese, and how many people struggle with the condition? Let’s find out!
1. By definition, being overweight and obese means having abnormal or excessive amounts of fat, which may damage your health.
There is an easy way to determine if you are overweight. You can do it by calculating your body mass index, which is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in square meters (kg/m2).
The World Health Organization defines being overweight as having a BMI equal to or higher than 25, and obese as having a 30 or higher BMI. For example, a 190 cm tall person who weighs 90 kg is nearly overweight because they have a 24.93 BMI.
2. The most common cause of obesity is consuming more calories than needed.
When talking about what causes obesity, the statistics aren’t discussed enough. You can hear many athletes and bodybuilders talking about their diets that involve seemingly too many calories. However, these people exercise ruthlessly to spend those calories.
In short, if we consume too much food, we are more likely to become overweight — unless we increase physical activity. Sometimes the lack of exercise alone can be enough to gain weight, even with a balanced calorie intake.
3. In 2005, over a billion people in the world were overweight, and over 300 million were obese.
These are the World Health Organization obesity stats from 15 years ago. You will notice an upward trend in the following segments. The projections from back then noted that there would be 1.5 billion overweight people in 2015. However, according to the known stats, we’ve surpassed that threshold.
4. In 2016, over 1.9 billion adults were overweight, and more than 650 million were obese.
Overweight and obesity statistics are very concerning. The numbers only seem to be going up, and it probably has a lot to do with increased intake of processed foods with added sugars.
Even though obesity is associated with more prosperous countries, it now affects countries that are worse off economically. Later in the article, you’ll learn that the most obese countries in the world are far from wealthy, according to obesity facts.
5. Obesity causes some of the leading premature death conditions, which can be prevented.
Some of the most dangerous conditions related to obesity include various types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and more. Quicker actions to prevent obesity can save many lives, which is why it’s essential not to ignore this serious problem.
6. Obesity is one of the five major mortality risks and one of the most significant chronic disease risks.
According to the WHO obesity statistics, the other four mortality risks include physical inactivity, tobacco use, high blood glucose, and high blood pressure. These risks are present everywhere around the world, in poor and wealthy countries alike.
7. Global overweight and obesity deaths outnumber underweight deaths.
The WHO informs us that combined, the diet-related deaths in low and middle-income countries match the deaths caused by tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Globally, 65% of the world lives in countries where medical issues caused by being overweight and obese have a higher death toll than health problems caused by being underweight.
Obesity in America Statistics You Need to Know
Did you ever wonder why the stereotypical American is portrayed as obese in sitcoms and comics worldwide? We are against stereotypes and cliches, but numbers indicate that there might be a grain of truth in this.
8. In 2008, the yearly medical costs of obesity amounted to $147 billion in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that obesity is prevalent and very expensive in the US. They say that the average annual medical expenses for obese people were about $1,429 higher than those of regular weight.
9. The highest percentage of obese Americans in 2018 was 44.8%, among middle-aged adults aged 40 to 59 years.
According to the CDC obesity in America from 2018 statistics, obesity in adults is relatively equal between the age groups. About 40% of young adults between 20 and 39 years old are obese. The same can be said for 42.8% of those aged 60 and older.
10. Non-Hispanic blacks had the highest percentage of obese adults in the US in 2018, with nearly 50% of them obese.
The obesity rate in America in 2018 was also very high for Hispanic people, 44.8% of whom were obese. Non-Hispanic whites followed with 42.2%, and finally, non-Hispanic Asians only had 17.4% of obese adults.
11. US obesity levels decrease with education, and college graduates were the least obese, with a 24.7% obesity rate.
The CDC obesity statistics from 2018 show that adults with some college followed, with 33% obesity, and they were close to high school graduates, who had a 33.1% obesity rate. Adults who didn’t finish high school had the highest obesity rate. More precisely, 35% of them were obese.
Note that these were all self-reported statistics. The middle-aged adults were the most obese, with a 36.9% obesity rate, while only 18.1% of young adults were obese.
12. There are 13.7 million obese children and adolescents in the US.
The group in this statistic is between the ages of 2 and 19. Even the childhood obesity rates in America are way too high, with 18.5% of the mentioned demographic being obese. It is alarming because of the increased risk of medical conditions awaiting them if they don’t lose weight soon enough.
13. Almost 14% of the youngest Americans, those between the ages of 2 and 5, are obese.
The older the children, the higher the obesity prevalence. 18.4% of children between the ages of 6 and 11 are obese, and 20.6% of those between 12 and 19 are obese. US obesity statistics like these need to be discussed more often if things need to be changed.
14. Hispanic children and adolescents had the highest obesity rate of 25.8%.
The CDC says that non-Hispanic Asians were the least obese, with 11% obesity prevalence. Non-Hispanic whites followed 14.1%, while non-Hispanic blacks had somewhat higher numbers, with 22% prevalence.
Childhood Obesity Statistics That Need to Change Fast
Obesity poses a serious threat to health, and it is even more worrying when it is left untreated in children. There are more and more children every year who develop serious and life-threatening conditions, such as high blood pressure or cholesterol.
And the age limit will keep getting lower unless we do something, and we do it fast!
15. In 2016, there were over 41 million overweight preschool children.
Worldwide, childhood obesity facts are not any more comforting than those for adults. Modern diets and lifestyles are so unhealthy that the rate of obesity in children doesn’t surprise.
Unfortunately, overweight children are more likely to become obese adults, develop cardiovascular diseases and diabetes while they’re young. Lastly, they’re more likely to develop a disability and die a premature death.
16. Childhood obesity causes can often be found in their surrounding environment.
We all know that children are easily influenced. Unfortunately, the environment has more bad influences on kids these days. When fast food and sodas are easily accessible around every corner, it can be difficult for kids to resist them. So, for the most part, it’s not the children’s fault that they are becoming overweight. Adults need to set a good example and build healthier communities if we want to see lower obesity statistics.
17. In 2014, 17.2% of obese children and adolescents between the ages of 2 and 19.
In the same demographic, there were 6% morbidly obese children. Young children from 2 to 5, however, are less obese — only about 9.4%. Furthermore, extreme obesity in such young children is very rare, lower than 2%.
18. Adolescents aged 12 to 19 were more obese than children in 2014, 20.6% of them, according to NIH.
Childhood obesity is rarer than adolescent obesity. In that demographic, 9.1% were extremely obese. Even though young children are less obese, children from 6 to 11 had a 17.4% obesity rate, which is pretty high. However, only 4.3% of them were morbidly obese.
19. In 2019, more than 38 million children younger than five years old were obese.
Childhood obesity statistics from 2019 are very concerning. The WHO says that African children under 5 were 24% more obese than children of that age were in 2000. Nearly 50% of the global youngest obese population lives in Asia.
Which country has the highest obesity?
According to the obesity statistics from the World Health Organization, the country with the most obese people is Nauru. Here are the top five most obese countries in the world:
- Nauru with 61%
- The Cook Islands, with 55.9%
- Palau with 55.3%
- The Marshall Islands, with 52.9%
- Tuvalu with 51.6%
Which country has the healthiest population?
The global obesity statistics rate Vietnam as the healthiest population in terms of BMI. They have the smallest percent of obese people — only 2.1% of the Vietnamese people are obese.
Vietnam is followed by Bangladesh, where only 3.6% of people are obese, Timor-Leste, with 3.8%, and India, and Cambodia, who share the same obesity stats of 3.9%.
We are yet to discover people’s secrets from the rest of these countries, but we know why Indian people might be in such good shape. Did you know that nearly 50% of yoga practitioners come from India?
Moreover, it’s not a secret that regular exercise can lower the risk of premature death by 30%, whether yoga, sports, or hitting the gym.
How many people die from obesity?
One of the grimmest obesity facts is that nearly 3 million people die from obesity every year. Furthermore, obesity is becoming more and more prevalent, according to the World Health Organization. Worldwide, It has nearly tripled since 1975.
Where does America rank in obesity?
If you guessed that obesity statistics in America are very high, you would be right. Sadly, the US is the leading OECD country in terms of obesity. The OECD stands for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and it’s an elite club of the wealthiest countries.
In the global ranks, the US takes the 12th spot, preceded by Kuwait and Micronesia, followed by Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
What percentage of US adults are obese?
Between 2017 and 2018, 42.4% of US adults were obese. The US obesity rate in 2018 is 11.9% higher than it was between 1999 and 2000. Furthermore, severe obesity in adult Americans increased by 4.5%, reaching 9.2%.
On average, American adults spend $155 each month on gym memberships, hopefully reducing obesity and severe obesity-related statistics. More Americans should join the gyms and start working on this serious issue.
Obesity statistics are fascinating, and they are equally concerning. There are still many hungry people in the world, yet the global population is progressively becoming more obese. Of course, becoming overweight sometimes has nothing to do with eating habits but rather with illness.
Generally speaking, food is becoming more processed and filled with sugar, which is very unhealthy. United States obesity statistics are that high, mostly because of such unhealthy but easily affordable food choices. Do you agree with us, or do you have a different theory?
Feel free to add a comment below, and let us know your thoughts.