During the past 20 years, obesity among adults has risen significantly in the United States. The latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics show that 30 percent of U.S. adults 20 years of age and older—over 60 million people—are obese. This increase is not limited to adults. The percentage of young people who are overweight has more than tripled since 1980. Among children and teens aged 6–19 years, 16 percent (over 9 million young people) are considered overweight. These increasing rates raise concern because of their implications for Americans’ health. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of many diseases and health conditions, including the following: 1) Hypertension; 2) Dyslipidemia; 3) Type 2 diabetes; 4) Coronary heart disease ; 4) Stroke; 5) Gallbladder disease; 6) Osteoarthritis; 7) Sleep apnea and respiratory problems; and 8) Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon).
Although one of the national health objectives for the year 2010 is to reduce the prevalence of obesity among adults to less than 15 percent, current data indicate that the situation is worsening rather than improving.