According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, 41.9% of U.S. adults are obese – which is a sharp increase from 30.5% in the early 2000s. Obesity is a health crisis that’s slowly killing us. According to previous research, extreme obesity was found to shorten your lifespan by as much as 14 years. The reality is that America has a serious weight problem. Recently, researchers set out to better understand the severity of the obesity crisis.
Obesity Crisis: Is The World Gaining Even More Weight?
In a study published in the Journal of Obesity, researchers from Brigham Young University examined the long-term weight gain of more than 13 800 U.S. adults. The participants were randomly selected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The survey is part of a scheme that the CDC uses to monitor the nutrition, health, and fitness of Americans by looking at a representative sample of about 5,000 people annually.
According to the findings of the study, close to a fifth of the participants gained 20% of their body weight or more over a 10-year period. Additionally, more than a third gained 10% or more and over half gained 5% or more.
“In roughly 20 years, the prevalence of obesity increased by approximately 40% and severe obesity almost doubled…The U.S. obesity epidemic is not slowing down. Without question, 10-year weight gain is a serious problem within the U.S. adult population.” – Larry Tucker, study lead author and a BYU professor of exercise science
Who is gaining more weight?
The biggest weight gains were seen in young people who, on average, gained 17.6 pounds between their 20s and 30s. This weight gain decreased as people aged with participants gaining an average of 4.6 pounds between their 50s and 60s.
Weight gain also differed across genders and races, with women gaining about twice as much weight: 12 pounds on average for women compared to 6 pounds for men. In regards to race, black women experienced the greatest average weight gain over 10 years, gaining 19.4 pounds. Asian men, on the other hand, experienced the least weight gain, only gaining 2.9 pounds.
It should be noted that if a person were to gain the average amount of weight during each decade of their adult life, they would gain over 45 pounds, which would make them obese.
Why are women gaining more weight?
Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, and it appears that these differences also affect the way we gain weight.
For one, women have been found to have more body fat than men, and this can affect their metabolic rate. Additionally, hormonal changes such as menopause can also slow down the metabolism, making it harder for women to lose weight and even cause them to gain a menopot.
Obesity is a serious health crisis that requires interventions beyond encouraging individuals to exercise more and eat healthier. Rather, by better understanding who is more likely to become obese, public health officials can do their part to provide the necessary health care to at-risk individuals.
Kitahara, C. M., Flint, A. J., Berrington de Gonzalez, A., Bernstein, L., et al. (2014). Association between class III obesity (BMI of 40-59 kg/m2) and mortality: a pooled analysis of 20 prospective studies. PLoS medicine, 11(7), e1001673. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001673
Tucker, L. A., & Parker, K. (2022). 10-Year Weight Gain in 13,802 US Adults: The Role of Age, Sex, and Race. Journal of obesity, 2022, 7652408. https://doi.org/10.1155/2022/7652408