Obesity is a chronic illness in the United States that has reached epidemic proportions within the past two decades. Learning the basic facts about the obesity epidemic is the first step toward turning the trend around.

Obesity Explained

  • The terms “overweight” and “obese” describe weight ranges that are above what is medically accepted as healthy.
  • Being in either the overweight or obese weight ranges increases the likelihood of certain diseases and health problems.
  • Over one-third of U.S. adults (~36%) are obese.
  • Approximately 12.5 million children and adolescents aged 2-19 (17%) are obese.
  • Obesity affects people of all ethnic backgrounds, income and education levels. The highest overall obesity rates continue to be found amongst racial and ethnic minorities, those with lower levels of education and lower income levels, and in rural populations.


Sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest source of sugar in the diets of children and adolescents.


Overweight in the Workplace: How Wellness Programs Can Help the American Workforce

As a nation, obesity is driving our health care costs up and dragging our economy down. Experts estimate that obesity in our workforce costs businesses more than $73 billion each year in lost productivity.


Stigma: The Human Cost of Obesity

The prejudice faced by obese people takes an enormous toll. Some people tease others about their weight, perhaps thinking the teasing would help motivate them to lose weight. But evidence points to the contrary: the pain and isolation many overweight and obese people feel can actually contribute to future weight gain, rather than setting them on a path toward better health.


Source: http://theweightofthenation.hbo.com/