About 74% of adults in the United States are overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That includes nearly 43% who are obese, meaning they have a body mass index (BMI) – a measurement of body fatness based on weight and height – of 30 or higher. An additional 31 percent are considered overweight, with a BMI of 25 to 29.9.
But more than 40% of people who are overweight and 10% of those who are obese do not perceive themselves to be overweight, according to an analysis of the CDC data published in Annals of Internal Medicine. People who are overweight or obese based on their BMI face an array of potential health issues, including being more likely to develop heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, digestive problems, osteoarthritis, breast cancer, colon cancer and leukemia. Higher BMIs pose the greater risk. Obesity also has been identified as a major risk factor for developing severe complications from covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, for people of all ages, including children.
The CDC data show that 16% of U.S. youths, ages 2 to 19, are overweight and an additional 19% are obese. For adults, the highest rates of obesity are among middle-aged people, especially men. Thepercentage of adults who today are considered obese is more than triple the amount the CDC reported decades ago: 43% today vs. 13% in 1962. To delay or prevent some of the risks linked to obesity, health experts generally recommend as a first step losing 5 to 10% of your weight (10 to 20 pounds for someone who weighs 200) via a change in eating habits and an increase in physical activity.