WASHINGTON, DC -- The number of Americans classified as obese now outweighs the number of people defined as overweight, according to a report recently released by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
The report includes results from a 2005-2006 survey of 4,356 adults that finds 34.3 percent of U.S. adults ages 20 and over are obese, while an estimated 32.7 percent are overweight. The study also finds that 5.9 percent of U.S. adults are classified as extremely obese.
The 2005-2006 numbers are the most recent available, the agency says.
Overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29, obesity is classified as a BMI of 30 to 40, and those with BMIs of 40 or more are considered extremely obese. Since 1988, the incidence of obesity in America has risen nearly 10 percent.
“The NHANES 2005-2006 data for persons ages 20 years and over suggest an increase, between the late 1980s and today, in obesity in the United States, with the estimated age-adjusted prevalence moving upward from a previous level of 23 percent in NHANES III (1988-94) to approximately 34 percent,” study authors wrote.
Authors also note that one of the national health objectives for 2010 is to reduce the prevalence of obesity among adults to less than 15 percent.