Obesity Statistics

High Cholesterol
The age-adjusted prevalence of high cholesterol (total cholesterol over 240) in overweight and obese U.S. adults is:
  • 19.1 percent for men with a BMI between 25 and 27
  • 21.6 percent for men with a BMI between 27 and 30
  • 22.0 percent in men with a BMI over 30.
  • 30.5 percent for women with a BMI between 25 and 27
  • 29.6 percent for women with a BMI between 27 and 30
  • 27.0 percent for women with a BMI over 30.
While direct prevalence information is not available, a recent study found that people whose BMI was 40 or more had death rates from cancer that were 52 percent higher for men and 62 percent higher for women than rates for normal-weight men and women. Overweight and obesity could account for 14 percent of cancer deaths among men and 20 percent among women in the United States.
In both men and women, higher BMI is associated with higher death rates from cancers of the esophagus, colon and rectum, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and kidney. The same trend applies to cancers of the stomach and prostate in men, and cancers of the breast, uterus, cervix, and ovaries in women. Almost half of postmenopausal women diagnosed with breast cancer have a BMI greater than or equal to 29. In one study (the Nurses' Health Study), women gaining more than 20 pounds from age 18 to midlife doubled their risk of breast cancer, compared to women whose weight remained stable.
Death Rate
Most studies show an increase in mortality rate associated with obesity. Obese individuals have a 50 to 100 percent increased risk of death from all causes, compared with normal-weight individuals. Most of the increased risk is due to cardiovascular causes (such as heart attack or stroke).
Life expectancy of a moderately obese person could be shortened by two to five years. White men between 20 and 30 years old with a BMI greater than 45 could shorten their life expectancy by 13 years; white women in the same category could lose up to 8 years of life. Young African-American men with a BMI greater than 45 could lose up to 20 years of life; African-American women could lose up to 5 years.
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