The number of overweight and obese adults in the United States continues to rise, according to a new study that's found more than two-thirds of adult Americans aged 25 years or older are now overweight or obese.
The research analysed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which ran from 2007 to 2012, and included information on a sample of 15,208 men and women. Based on the data, the researchers estimate that 39.96 percent of US men (36.3 million) are overweight and 35.04 percent (31.8 million) are obese.
For women, the estimates are 29.74 percent (28.9 million) of them are overweight, while 36.84 percent (35.8 million) are obese. If you do the maths, sure enough, the number of obese adult Americans (67.6 million) now eclipses those who are only overweight (65.2 million).
What's so remarkable about the research, conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine and published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, is just how stark the numbers are for the US population. Every three in four men is overweight or obese, and the same can be said for two out of every three women.
In other words, people in healthy weight ranges in the US make up only a distinct minority of the population, especially when you consider that some portion of the remainder in these figures will be people who are actually underweight.
The researchers found the African American community has the biggest problem with obesity - affecting 39 percent of black men and 57 percent of black women - followed by Mexican Americans and then whites.
A similar study was published back in 1999, finding that 63 percent of men and 55 percent of women aged 25 and older were overweight or obese, so clearly the problem has only gotten worse over the last two decades, despite efforts from the government and the health community to educate people on how to take care of themselves when it comes to food and lifestyle choices.
"This is a wakeup call to implement policies and practices designed to combat overweight and obesity," said Lin Yang, the study's lead, in a statement. "An effort that spans multiple sectors must be made to stop or reverse this trend that is compromising and shortening the lives of many."
Scary stuff, but hopefully this latest research will help galvanise efforts to turn weights around in the US and put healthy eating and living squarely back on the agenda.