Obesity Facts

National ObesityA growing trend

  • During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States and rates remain high. More than one-third of U.S. adults (34.9%) and approximately 17% (or 12.7 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years have obesity.
  • Since 1980, adult obesity rates have doubled.
  • Since 1980, obesity rates for children and adolescents have tripled.

Prevalence* of Self-Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults by State and Territory, BRFSS, 2013

Adult Obesity Map 2013

 Source: Behavorial Risk Factor Surveillance Systems, CDC.

*Prevalence estimates reflect BRFSS methodological changes started in 2011. These estimates should not be compared to prevalence estimates before 2011.

+Guam and Puerto Rico were the only US territories with obesity data available on the 2013 BRFSS

Georgia Obesity: A State at Risk

Obesity threatens the health of adults and children in Georgia. Numbers tell the story. (1)

  • The good news is that the most recent data show that the prevalence of childhood obesity in Georgia has stabilized in the past decade. However, the prevalence of obesity among 2- to 4-year-olds from low income families and high-school students remains high, at 12.7 and 13.3 percent, respectively. For 10- to 17- year-olds, the prevalence is even greater: 16.5 percent.
  • The prevalence of adult obesity continues to climb, with Georgia now having the 18th highest adult obesity rate in the nation. With 30.3 percent of its population obese, Georgia is among the 10 states with the prevalence adult obesity at or above 30 percent. An additional 35 percent of adults are overweight.

Health & Economic Consequences

The health consequences and costs associated with obesity are staggering. Obese adults are at increased risk of developing more than 20 major chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and stroke, diabetes, osteoarthritis, gall bladder disease and some cancers. Children are at increased risk for hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea, and asthma, as well as low self-esteem.

Obesity is one of the biggest drivers of preventable chronic diseases and healthcare costs in the United States. Currently, estimates for these costs range from $147 billion to nearly $210 billion per year. In addition, job absenteeism related to obesity costs $4.3 billion annually.

If obesity rates continue on their current trajectory, by 2030, combined medical costs associated with treating preventable obesity-related diseases are estimated to increase by between $48 billion and $66 billion per year, and the loss in economic productivity could be between $390 billion and $580 billion annually.

Additionally, obesity-related job absenteeism costs $4.3 billion annually.Obesity also is associated with lower productivity while at work (presenteeism), which costs employers $506 per obese worker per year.

Source:  Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The State of Obesity 2014 [PDF]. Washington, D.C., 2014.