Americans Are Making No Progress On Obesity

The rate keeps inching up—especially for women.

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Hot on the heels of news that the US childhood obesity rate keeps creeping up, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have an update on the situation among adults: As of 2014, 37.9 percent of US adults are obese, compared with 34.6 in 2006.

To track obesity, CDC crunches data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a federally funded survey that combines interviews and physical examinations of people selected to represent the nation as a whole.

The researchers turned up an interesting gender trend. The obesity rate for men held pretty steady—from 33.5 percent to 35.2 percent over the time range, an increase deemed statistically insignificant. But for women, the obesity rate grew from 35.7 percent to 40.5 percent, which the researchers dubbed a “significant linear trend between 2005 and 2014.”

Globally, obesity rates are trending upwards, but haven’t nearly approached US levels. “In 2008, 10 percent of men and 14 percent of women in the world were obese,” reports the World Health Organization, citing the most recent figures available.