Posted - March 14, 2010

Percentage of Overweight, Obese Americans Swells

As the obesity epidemic continues to grow, more than half of American adults are now overweight or obese.

According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which conducted telephone interviews with 673,000 adults between January 2008 and December 2009, 63.1% of adults in the U.S. were either overweight or obese in 2009. That’s a slight increase from the previous year, which recorded 62.2% of adults as overweight or obese.

The survey gave an indication of behaviors that may be contributing to the rise of obesity. Only 58.3% of people who were obese reported exercising at least one day a week, compared to 73.8% of normal weight people who exercised every week. Obese people were also less likely to have eaten five servings of fruits and vegetables on at least three days of the past seven and were least likely to agree that they ate healthy “all day yesterday.”

In addition to helping to pinpoint behaviors that may contribute to obesity, the interviews also confirmed that people who were overweight and obese were more likely to have certain health problems. Of the surveyed people with high blood pressure, 46.2% were obese, 31.1% were overweight, 19.3% were of normal weight, and 17.2% underweight. In addition, 36.8% of the people with high cholesterol were obese, 30.1% were overweight, and only 19.2% normal weight. People who were obese or overweight were also more likely to have suffered a heart attack, have diabetes, and suffer from depression.