The obesity epidemic in the United States - Gender, age, socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and geographic characteristics: A systematic review and meta-regression analysis

Youfa Wang, May A. Beydoun

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

This review of the obesity epidemic provides a comprehensive description of the current situation, time trends, and disparities across gender, age, socioeconomic status, racial/ethnic groups, and geographic regions in the United States based on national data. The authors searched studies published between 1990 and 2006. Adult overweight and obesity were defined by using body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)2) cutpoints of 25 and 30, respectively; childhood "at risk for overweight" and overweight were defined as the 85th and 95th percentiles of body mass index. Average annual increase in and future projections for prevalence were estimated by using linear regression models. Among adults, obesity prevalence increased from 13% to 32% between the 1960s and 2004. Currently, 66% of adults are overweight or obese; 16% of children and adolescents are overweight and 34% are at risk of overweight. Minority and low-socioeconomic-status groups are disproportionately affected at all ages. Annual increases in prevalence ranged from 0.3 to 0.9 percentage points across groups. By 2015, 75% of adults will be overweight or obese, and 41% will be obese. In conclusion, obesity has increased at an alarming rate in the United States over the past three decades. The associations of obesity with gender, age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status are complex and dynamic. Related population-based programs and policies are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-28
Number of pages23
JournalEpidemiologic reviews
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2007

Keywords

  • Body mass index
  • Ethnic groups
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Social class
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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