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Obesity Prevalence Among US Adults

JAMA; 2018 Jun 19; Hales, Fryar, et al

The prevalence of obesity and severe obesity was significantly greater in 2013-2016 in US adults living in nonmetropolitan statistical areas compared with adults living in large metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), a recent study found. Moreover, differences in age group, race and Hispanic origin, education level, or smoking status were not related to the differences in the prevalence of obesity and severe obesity by urbanization level. This according to a serial cross-sectional analysis that assessed prevalence of obesity and severe obesity by subgroups in 2013-2016 and trends by urbanization level between 2001-2004 and 2013-2016. Researchers found:

  • The study population included 10,792 adults aged ≥20 years.
  • During 2013-2016, 38.9% of US adults had obesity and 7.6% had severe obesity.
  • The prevalence of obesity was significantly greater among women living in nonmetropolitan statistical areas (non-MSAs; 47.2%) compared with women living in large MSAs (38.1%).
  • The prevalence of severe obesity in non-MSAs was higher than in large MSAs among men (9.9% vs 4.1%, respectively) and women (13.5% vs 8.1%, respectively).
  • Between 2001-2004 and 2013-2016, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity and severe obesity significantly increased among all adults at all urbanization levels.


Hales CM, Fryar CD, Carroll MD, Freedman DS, Aoki Y, Ogden CL. Differences in obesity prevalence by demographic characteristics and urbanization level among adults in the United States, 2013-2016. JAMA.2018;319(23):2419–2429. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.7270.

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