Overweight & Obesity Stats

  • Over two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese.
  • Over one-third of U.S. adults are obese.
  • On average, people who are considered obese pay 42% more in health care costs than normal-weight individuals.
  • Only 31 percent of U.S. adults report that they engage in regular leisure-time physical activity.
  • About 40 percent of adults report no leisure-time physical activity.

Risk Factors for Overweight and Obesity

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • High LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis (degeneration of cartilage and bone of joints)
  • Sleep apnea and other breathing problems
  • Some forms of cancer (breast, colorectal, endometrial, and kidney)
  • Complications of pregnancy
  • Menstrual irregularities

Individuals who are obese have a significantly increased risk of death from all causes, compared with healthy weight individuals. Most of this increased risk is due to cardiovascular causes.

Obesity is associated with over 112,000 excess deaths due to cardiovascular disease, over 15,000 excess deaths due to cancer & over 35,000 excess deaths due to other causes per year in the U.S. population. Poor diet is the second leading cause of death in America & will soon surpass smoking.


Genetic, environmental, behavioral, & socioeconomic factors can all play a part in overweight & obesity. It is a complex issue, but the foundational principle is basic math – energy in versus energy out. Weight gain is usually due to an energy imbalance – when we consume more calories than we burn. In order to do the math, we need to know & understand the numbers involved including:

  1. Resting Metabolic Rate: How many calories your body requires at rest to maintain weight. An easy method to estimate your RMR is to multiply your weight x 10; if you are moderately active x 12 or if you are very active x 15.
  2. Average daily caloric intake: How many calories you consume on a daily basis. Most people live in complete denial & do not take the time to educate themselves on what they are putting into their bodies.
  3. Caloric expenditure: How many calories you expend with daily activity & exercise
  4. Nutritional value & caloric content of the foods and beverages we consume & what an appropriate portion size looks like for foods we typically eat. For 1-2 weeks, weigh & measure your food to get a realistic view of what a proper portion size looks like. Journal everything you eat & drink. Use a Food Counts book or online program to learn how many calories & nutrients are in your typical food choices. Then consult with a nutrition or wellness professional for recommendations.

Consuming just 100 calories per day over what our metabolic rate requires, can lead to a 10-pound weight gain in 1 year, 50 pounds in 5 years & 100 pounds in a decade. To lose weight, we must create an energy deficit by consuming fewer calories, increasing caloric output through activity & tuning up our metabolic engine.