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Gallup Survey: U.S. Obesity Rate Climbs to 27% in 2013

Highest rate in Gallup’s 6-year tracking history (February 27)

In the U.S., 27.1% of adults were obese in 2013, the highest rate measured since Gallup and Healthways began tracking in 2008. The obesity rate increased by nearly a full percentage point over the average rate of 26.2% found in 2012. As more Americans moved into the obese category in 2013, slightly fewer Americans were classified as overweight or as normal weight.

The World Health Organization classifies a body mass index (BMI) of 30.00 or higher into one of three classes of obesity:

  • Obese class I = 30.00 to 34.99
  • Obese class II = 35.00 to 39.99
  • Obese class III = 40.00 or higher

Those with BMIs of 40 or higher (obese class III) are often considered to be “morbidly obese.” According to Americans’ self-reports of height and weight, the percentage of morbidly obese individuals has been slowly rising since 2011, and is now the highest Gallup has recorded, at 3.8%.

The percentage of Americans in obese class II has also been on the rise, reaching a record high of 6.3% in 2013. The percentages in obese class I have varied, but the 17.1% who fall into this group matches the highest rate recorded since tracking began. Thus, the overall increase in obesity in 2013 reflects an upward shift among all three obesity groups, the survey finds.

The results were based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup–Healthways Well-Being Index survey from January 2 to December 29, 2013, with a random sample of 178,072 adults, aged 18 years and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Source: Gallup; February 27, 2014.

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