Teen Obesity Rate Rises to 20%

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cynthia L Ogden PhD, MRP Public Health, Nutrition and Dietetics CDC Atlanta

Dr. Cynthia Ogden

Cynthia L Ogden PhD, MRP
Public Health, Nutrition and Dietetics
CDC Atlanta

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

Dr. Ogden: Monitoring trends in obesity prevalence is important because of the health risks associated with obesity and because obesity often tracks from childhood to adulthood. The most recent data before this point showed no increases overall in youth, men or women over the previous decade.

We used the most recent nationally representative data with measured weights and heights from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to look at trends in obesity prevalence.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: We looked at the most recent decade in adults. Between 2005-2006 and 2013-2014 we found that there was no significant change in obesity prevalence among men. But among women obesity prevalence increased from about 35 to about 40% and extreme obesity (a subset of obesity) increased from about 7% to about 10%. These trends were not explained by changes in age or educational levels in the population or by changes in the distribution of race-ethnic groups in the population or changes in smoking status.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: In youth we looked at trends over both the decade and over the last approximately 25 years (1988-1994 to 2013-2014). And, we looked at trends by age. Over the last decade there were no significant changes. Over the last 25 years, however, the patterns varied. Obesity prevalence increased until 2003-2004 and then flattened among all youth 2-19 years. Among children 2-5 years, obesity increased until 2003-2004, and then decreased. Among children 6-11 years obesity increased and then did not significantly change. Among teens 12-19 years obesity increased over the entire 25 year time period from about 10 to 20%. Extreme obesity among teens increased from 2.6% to 9.1%. Changes in the distribution of race-ethnic groups or educational level in the population did not explain these trends. Recent changes in teens have been small since there were no statistically significant changes over the last decade.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Lawman HG, et al. Trends in Obesity Prevalence Among Children and Adolescents in the United States, 1988-1994 Through 2013-2014. JAMA.2016;315(21):2292-2299. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.6361.

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Last Updated on June 8, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD