Posted: Friday, April 18, 2003

Increases in the prevalence of overweight, obesity and severe obesity among adults in the United States, based on Body Mass Index, a measure of weight relative to height.

Overweight is defined as having a BMI of 25 or more, obesity is 30 or more, and severe obesity is 40 or more. BMI is calculated by dividing a person's weight in pounds by their height in inches, dividing again by height in inches and multiplying by 703.

However, the number can be misleading for the very muscular, or for pregnant or lactating women.

Overweight Obesity Severe Obesity

1999-2000: 64.5 percent 30.5 percent 4.7 percent

1988-1994: 56 percent 23 percent 2.9 percent

1976-1980: 46 percent 14.4 percent No Data

Source: American Obesity Association

On the Net: American Obesity Association: http://www.obesity.org

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