1. The prevalence of obesity between 2013-2014 in the United States was 37.9%.
2. Positive linear trends in obesity prevalence from 2005-2015 were observed in women but not men.
Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)
Study Rundown: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. Consequences of obesity include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer. Per the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), obesity prevalence varies by sex, age, and race, along with socioeconomic and cigarette smoking status. Further, NHANES has shown large increases in the prevalence of obesity form 1980 to 1994. This study was conducted in order to gain a more detailed understanding of obesity trends from 2005 to 2014.
The authors of this study determined that the overall adult prevalence of obesity in the United States during 2013-2014 was 37.9%. The prevalence of class 3 obesity (BMI > 40) was estimated to be 7.7%. Over the past decade the prevalence of obesity increased among men, but remained stable for women. While strengthened by a large sample population and decade of prior research, the study is highly dependent on BMI calculations, a metric known to be commonly misinterpreted. Future studies may need to be conducted to analyze the causes behind the various trends—or lack thereof—observed over the past decade.
In-Depth [retrospective cohort]: This study examined NHANES data from 2013-2014, totalling 2638 men (mean age 46.8 years) and 2817 women (mean age 48.4 years). Data from 2005-2012 was also gathered among a total of 21 013 participants. The crude overall prevalence of obesity in 2013-2014 was 37.9% (95%CI 36.1%-39.8%). For men, the prevalence was 35.2% (95%CI 33.0%-37.4%) and among women it was 40.5% (95%CI 37.6%-43.4%). The overall crude prevalence of class 3 obesity in 2013-2014 was 7.7% (95%CI 6.2%-9.3%), with a 5.5% (95%CI 4.2%-7.0%) prevalence among men and 9.7% (95%CI 7.9%-11.9%) prevalence among women. Between 2005-2014, adjusted for age group, there was a significant positive linear trend for women (p = 0.02), but this was not observed in men (p = 0.95). Adjusting for age group, education, and race/Hispanic origin, there were significant positive linear trends for never smokers (p = 0.03) and current smokers (p = 0.01) but not for former smokers (p = 0.41).
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