In basic terms, obesity is a medical condition or disease described as excess body weight in the form of fat. A medical professional will likely suggest that a patient is obese if they display a high body mass index (BMI). As you’ll see in the obesity statistics displayed below, the disease is dangerous and on the rise.
Being overweight and obese can have significant detrimental effects on the human mind and body. This extremely common and dangerous disease increases the risk of developing numerous health issues such as metabolic syndrome and arthritis, as well as thirteen different types of cancer.
Here are some of the most important statistics on the obesity epidemic that’s been overtaking the world.
The Top 10 Key Obesity Statistics
- Obese individuals have a 21%–85% higher chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
- More than 1.9 billion adults aged 18 and older were overweight in 2016.
- 30% of the world population (around 2.1 billion) is obese in 2019.
- 61% of the population of the country of Nauru has a BMI higher than 30.
- 18.2% of deaths in the US from 1986 to 2006 were associated with being obese or overweight.
- In Mexico, the obesity rate shows that 38.3% of the population is obese.
- Obese children are 70% more likely to struggle with illness in their adult years.
- Around 15.4% of German children aged 3–17 are overweight or obese.
- The world population of obese children and adolescents is predicted to increase by 60% by 2030.
- The US obesity prevalence was around 18.9% among children and adolescents in the lowest income group.
General Health and Obesity Statistics
1. There are more than 10 common causes of weight gain.
There are many factors in life that may contribute to the development of obesity. On a basic level, people gain weight when they consume more calories within a certain period than they burn through activity.
Besides an imbalance in lifestyle, the obesity statistics from 2018 show that weight gain can be influenced by the environment (not having an affordable gym, oversized food portions, food advertisements), genetics (the Prader-Willi syndrome, for example), certain medications (such as antidepressants and seizure medicines), stress, and poor sleep.
2. More than 87% of individuals with type 2 diabetes also struggle with obesity.
The diabetes and obesity statistics in America have found that obese individuals are highly likely to also develop symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Many scientists claim that this may be because overweight individuals are more likely to be resistant to the insulin hormone, which carries sugar from the blood to the cells. When an individual is insulin resistant, this sugar stays in the blood, resulting in high blood sugar.
3. Losing at least 5%–7% of one’s body weight helps decrease the risk of various diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
In the US, obesity statistics derived from a study by the National Institutes of Health found that overweight individuals who lost weight and started exercising more slowed or even prevented the development of type 2 diabetes. Some of the best ways to lose extra weight is through a healthy diet, physical activity, or even surgery.
4. Obesity causes more than 5% of cancer cases.
Even though this doesn’t automatically mean that an overweight or obese individual has cancer, obesity facts link the fatal illness to excess fat on the body. Research has found that the risk of cancer gets higher the more an individual weighs and the longer they’re overweight. Fortunately, by making gradual small changes, it’s possible to make a significant difference for the better.
5. Women with over 30% body fat and men with over 25% body fat are considered obese.
Obesity is simply defined as having an excess of body fat in comparison to what’s considered normal. According to the overweight and obesity statistics by gender, the normal amount of body fat is between 25%–30% in women and around 18%–23% in men. An individual’s body mass index is also used to determine this. For example, Morbid obesity occurs when someone’s BMI exceeds 40–45 units, super obesity, 45–50 BMI, and super-morbid obesity is larger than 50 BMI.
6. Obese individuals have up to an 85% higher chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
A fairly recent study found that obese or overweight adults between 40 and 59 years have a significantly higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease in comparison to those of normal weight. Affected individuals have a higher incidence of risk factors such as stroke and heart disease.
Obesity in America: Statistics and Facts
7. In 2016, obesity affected 39.8% of the US population.
The United States—the country many stereotypically dub as the land of the obese—still continues to display high numbers of obesity rates. Statistics from 2015–2016 found that the rate of obesity among adult citizens of the United States was 39.8%. Meanwhile, the childhood obesity statistics from 2016 found that the disease was prevalent in 18.5% of the youth population. The reason for the obesity epidemic may be attributed to the growing fast food industry and the low quality of life in many areas.
8. The most recent statistics show that the prevalence of adult obesity surpasses 35% in 9 US states, 30% in 31, and 25% in 48 states.
(State of Obesity)
What percentage of Americans are overweight? According to the newest information in 2019 by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, adult obesity rates still prove to be shocking in the US. The statistics have shown that Mississippi and West Virginia display the highest rate, at 39.5%, whereas Colorado has the lowest, at 23%.
9. 18.2% of deaths in the US from 1986 to 2006 were associated with being obese or overweight.
How many people die from obesity in the US? Issues directly related to being overweight or obese killed around 1 in 5 adults (18.2%) in the US. The statistics have also found that black women are the most greatly affected, of whom 26.8% die because of the disease.
10. Young Hispanic males aged 2–19 have an obesity rate of 28%, and non-Hispanic black males have an obesity rate of 19%.
The research following obesity rates in America from 2018 found that Hispanic and non-Hispanic black Americans are more likely to suffer from obesity than other ethnic groups. The prevalence of obesity for both genders among young non-Hispanic black individuals was 22% and among Hispanics, 25.8%. The lowest rates are among Asian youths (11.0%) and white youths (14.1%).
11. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in America was around $147 billion in 2008.
The obesity statistics in the USA display not only damage to an individual’s health but also to the economy by way of exorbitant medical costs. In 1997, Medicare and Medicaid financed half of the medical costs of obesity, which were shown to be around $75.5 billion. However, this number increased in 2008 up to a whopping $147 billion.
Obesity Statistics Worldwide
12. The worldwide prevalence of obesity tripled between 1975 and 2018.
This data has been well documented throughout the years, and many studies deal with the topic. Sadly, the numbers show that there are three times as many overweight and obese individuals on the planet than there were just a few decades ago.
13. Over 1.9 billion adults were overweight in 2016.
Obesity statistics from 2016 by the World Health Organization estimated that there were around 1.9 billion adults over 18 who were overweight. Of this group, around 650 million adults were obese. Unfortunately, obesity is one of the most common diseases on a global level, if not the most common.
14. More than 13% of the world’s adult population in 2016 was obese.
More specifically, 11% were men and around 15% were women. Many falsely think that obesity is a problem concerning only high-income countries—however, rates have shown that the issue is prevalent worldwide.
15. What percentage of the world was obese in 2018? 30% of the global population (around 2.1 billion) struggled with obesity last year.
The number of obese individuals is rapidly growing. What’s more, additional statistics have shown that more than 3 million people die each year from obesity.
16. Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Eritrea, and Madagascar have obesity rates lower than 2%.
According to the global obesity statistics from the World Health Organization and other groups, the drastic rising costs of healthy food—not to mention the lack of it in underdeveloped nations—represent the most prevalent contributing factor to obesity. The least obese countries in the world actually have an obesity rate below 2%.
17. 61% of the population of the country of Nauru has a BMI that’s greater than 30.
What country was tthe most obese in 2018? In contrast to the last stat, the most obese country in the world is Nauru, with 61% of the population having a BMI over 30. According to some, the obesity epidemic in Nauru and other South Pacific countries comes from issues from Western settlers spreading their preference for fried foods, and residents are losing the traditional skills in properly preparing and preserving food.
18. Where does America rank in obesity? The United States is ranked 12th in obesity rates around the world.
Even though some expect the United States to rank number one in obesity, it has been shown that the States ranks only 12th. Of course, this is still pretty high. For comparison, the United Kingdom lies in the 36th spot.
19. 38.3% of Mexico’s population is overweight.
According to the world obesity rankings from 2018, Mexico has shown increasing obesity rates. Based on a sample of 49.4% women and 50.6% men, 24.4% of them were reported as obese and 38.3% as overweight. Additionally, the research found that more than half of the respondents (around 62.2%) were attempting to take action and lose weight.
20. Men’s obesity rates in England increased from 13.2% to 26.9% in just over 2 decades.
This increase took place between 1993 and 2015, and it also showed that there was still a significant rise in obesity rates among women (from 16.4% to 23.8%). Also, the overall population of overweight individuals increased to 63% by 2015.
Childhood Obesity Stats
21. Around 1 in 6 children and adolescents aged 2–19 are obese or overweight.
Data derived from a survey by the National Health and Nutrition Examination conducted from 2013 to 2014 found that 1 in 6 children and adolescents aged 2–19 have been found to suffer from obesity. However, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children found a decrease in obesity among children aged 2–4 enrolled in the program. For them, the percentage dropped from 15.9% to 14.5% in 2014.
22. Childhood obesity statistics show that nearly 9.4% of children between 2 and 5 years are obese.
An analysis of obesity trends among children conducted before 2000 showed an increase in prevalence, with rates stabilizing later on. However, the rates did display a significant decline among children aged 2–5. The results of the study found that among children in this age group, obesity increased from 7.2% in 1988–1994 to 13.9% in 2003–2004, finally decreasing to 9.4% in 2014.
23. Childhood obesity facts show that a high percentage of obese children belong to minority ethnic groups.
A 1999 study by Health Survey for England conducted on 5,689 children and young adults aged 2–20 years found that around 20% of children were overweight and 6% were obese. However, as an example, 24% of these overweight patients were Afro-Caribbean girls.
24. 15.4% of German children aged 3–17 are obese.
Statistics conducted in Germany display a high rate of obesity among children (15.4%). On the bright side, it has been noted that the rate of obesity has not made any drastic increase over the last 10 years. Although childhood obesity statistics from 2018 displayed notably high numbers, professionals claim that it’s a positive factor that the obesity trend has not made any upward movement.
25. Obese children are 70% more likely to struggle with illness in their adult years.
According to Dr. Rani Whitfield of the American Heart Association, obesity in children is a serious issue, which a child is highly unlikely to simply grow out of. Most importantly, obese children are extremely likely to grow up into obese adults.
This obesity trend may be explained by the widespread availability of liquid calories and empty calories combined with low-quality, cheap fast food options. In addition, most children fail to get at least an hour of daily exercise, and in turn, they remain sedentary.
26. Sleep deprivation is directly linked to weight gain and obesity.
Sleep deprivation and overeating are some of the most frequent childhood obesity causes. One study followed 28,000 children and 15,000 adults in the UK from 1977 to 2012 and found that sleep deprivation is linked to obesity in all age groups. It’s suggested that the prevalence of obesity in sleep-deprived individuals lies in the disruption of the normal hormone levels that regulate the appetite.
27. The world population of obese children and adolescents is predicted to increase by 60% by 2030.
The child obesity statistics predict that by 2030, there will be around 62 million obese children aged 5–19 in China, around 27 million in India, and 17 million in the US. Sadly, obesity is damaging not only the health prospects for rich countries but many poor countries as well.
28. Children aged 5–18 should engage in at least one hour of moderate to challenging physical activity daily.
Kids need to get enough exercise on a daily basis to reap all the possible health benefits. These benefits include developing stronger muscles and bones, lowering their chances of getting type 2 diabetes, lowering their risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and of course, decreasing their risk of becoming overweight.
By exercising, most of the known childhood obesity effects can be minimized and even prevented. Exercise for kids doesn’t have to be too vigorous—professionals recommend getting in around one hour of moderate to more challenging physical exercise daily.
29. Obesity rates are around 18.9% among children and adolescents in the lowest income group.
Among these individuals aged 2–19, 19.9% belonged in the middle-income group, and around 10.9% of those were in the highest income groups. The childhood obesity rates in America are likely linked to the lower-income groups having poor access to healthy foods due to the increasing costs. Thus, they usually resort to cheap, low-quality food items that lead to weight gain and obesity in the long run.
30. It’s estimated that 14–18-year-old boys need around 2200 calories a day, while girls the same age need 1800.
(Academy of Nutritionists)
Due to the alarming childhood obesity statistics from 2019, parents are urged to pay close attention to how much their children are consuming. Calories provide the essential energy needed to survive and perform various daily activities.
Even though many researchers have suggested standard caloric needs for different genders, age groups, and activity levels, it’s important to remember that every individual is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all diet regime. It’s estimated that boys require up to 2800 calories a day, while girls need up to 2200 calories a day on average.
In conclusion, the obesity statistics show that the disease is not only a threat in the United States but also the whole world.
The evidence has shown that obesity is extremely common in children and in adults, and it impacts the rich as well as the poor. Fortunately, the trend can be reduced and even reversed if individuals take responsibility for themselves and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Hopefully, the future holds promise for more optimistic obesity statistics.