Obesity Increased in Adults But Not Youth in Last Ten Years

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Craig M. Hales, MD Cheryl D. Fryar, MSPH; Margaret D. Carroll, MSPH; David S. Freedman, PhD; Cynthia L. Ogden, PhD

National Center for Health Statistics
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, Georgia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In this analysis we examined recent trends in the prevalence of obesity and severe obesity among both youth and adults, by sex and age group.

Among adults, obesity and severe obesity prevalence has increased over the last 10 years.  Obesity prevalence increased from 33.7% in 2007-2008 to 39.6% or almost 40% in 2015-2016, and severe obesity increased from 5.7% in 2007-2008 to 7.7% in 2015-2016.  We see this same pattern of increasing prevalence of obesity and severe obesity in both men and women, and in different age groups.

On the other hand, among youth, we saw no increasing or decreasing trends in obesity or severe obesity prevalence over the 10 year period.  And this was true for both boys and girls and for different age groups.

Measured height and weight is the gold standard for generating accurate estimates of obesity prevalence.  The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey is unique in that it combines both interviews in the home and physical examinations in mobile examination centers, and it is the only national survey where people’s height and weight are physically measured.  This is why NHANES is such an important source of data for understanding trends in obesity in youth and adults. 


Hales CM, Fryar CD, Carroll MD, Freedman DS, Ogden CL. Trends in Obesity and Severe Obesity Prevalence in US Youth and Adults by Sex and Age, 2007-2008 to 2015-2016. JAMA. Published online March 23, 2018. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.3060

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