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Original Investigation |

Trends in Obesity Among Adults in the United States, 2005 to 2014

Katherine M. Flegal, PhD1; Deanna Kruszon-Moran, MS1; Margaret D. Carroll, MSPH1; Cheryl D. Fryar, MSPH1; Cynthia L. Ogden, PhD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Maryland
JAMA. 2016;315(21):2284-2291. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.6458.
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Importance  Between 1980 and 2000, the prevalence of obesity increased significantly among adult men and women in the United States; further significant increases were observed through 2003-2004 for men but not women. Subsequent comparisons of data from 2003-2004 with data through 2011-2012 showed no significant increases for men or women.

Objective  To examine obesity prevalence for 2013-2014 and trends over the decade from 2005 through 2014 adjusting for sex, age, race/Hispanic origin, smoking status, and education.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Analysis of data obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a cross-sectional, nationally representative health examination survey of the US civilian noninstitutionalized population that includes measured weight and height.

Exposures  Survey period.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Prevalence of obesity (body mass index ≥30) and class 3 obesity (body mass index ≥40).

Results  This report is based on data from 2638 adult men (mean age, 46.8 years) and 2817 women (mean age, 48.4 years) from the most recent 2 years (2013-2014) of NHANES and data from 21 013 participants in previous NHANES surveys from 2005 through 2012. For the years 2013-2014, the overall age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was 37.7% (95% CI, 35.8%-39.7%); among men, it was 35.0% (95% CI, 32.8%-37.3%); and among women, it was 40.4% (95% CI, 37.6%-43.3%). The corresponding prevalence of class 3 obesity overall was 7.7% (95% CI, 6.2%-9.3%); among men, it was 5.5% (95% CI, 4.0%-7.2%); and among women, it was 9.9% (95% CI, 7.5%-12.3%). Analyses of changes over the decade from 2005 through 2014, adjusted for age, race/Hispanic origin, smoking status, and education, showed significant increasing linear trends among women for overall obesity (P = .004) and for class 3 obesity (P = .01) but not among men (P = .30 for overall obesity; P = .14 for class 3 obesity).

Conclusions and Relevance  In this nationally representative survey of adults in the United States, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity in 2013-2014 was 35.0% among men and 40.4% among women. The corresponding values for class 3 obesity were 5.5% for men and 9.9% for women. For women, the prevalence of overall obesity and of class 3 obesity showed significant linear trends for increase between 2005 and 2014; there were no significant trends for men. Other studies are needed to determine the reasons for these trends.

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Selected Weighted Percentiles of Body Mass Index by Survey Cycle: NHANES 2005-2014
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