The prevalence of obesity and severe obesity increased from 2005 to 2016 in adults aged at least 20 years, but no significant increases were observed among children and adolescents, according to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data.
Craig M. Hales, MD, MPH, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC, and colleagues evaluated data from the NHANES in 2007-2008 and 2015-2016 to analyze trends in obesity prevalence among 16,875 youths and 27,449 adults from the United States to determine recent changes. Obesity was defined as BMI of least 30 kg/m2 and severe obesity as BMI of at least 40 mg/m2 in adults aged at least 20 years. BMI at or above the 95th percentile was used to define obesity, and BMI at or above 120% of the 95th percentile was used to define severe obesity in children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years.
Obesity prevalence increased from 16.8% in 2005-2006 to 18.5% in 2015-2016 in youths, but no significant linear trends were observed based on the unadjusted model. A quadratic trend was observed for children aged 2 to 5 years with prevalence decreasing from 10.1% in 2007-2008 to 8.4% in 2011-2012 and increasing to 13.9% in 2015-2016.
Obesity prevalence increased from 33.7% in 2007-2008 to 39.6% in 2015-2016 in adults overall and in adults aged 40 to 59 years, 60 years and older, and in women. No significant increases were observed for men and adults aged 20 to 39 years.
Severe obesity prevalence increased from 5.7% in 2007-2008 to 7.7% in 2015-2016 in adults overall and in men, women, adults aged 20 to 39 years and adults aged 40 to 59 years. No significant linear trend was observed for adults aged at least 60 years.
“Changes in demographics did not explain the observed trends,” the researchers wrote. “Limitations include small sample sizes in the youngest age group. Residual bias due to incomplete nonresponse adjustment is possible and may vary with changing response rates. Additional NHANES data will allow continued monitoring of trends in obesity and severe obesity prevalence among U.S. youth and adults.” – by Amber Cox
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.