by Rob Saint Laurent, M.Ed
There’s another health crisis in the US, and it’s been hiding in plain sight.
In September 2021, word broke of new data by the CDC showing America’s adult obesity rate in 2020 was at an all-time high of at least 35 percent in 16 states—versus 12 states just a year earlier. In an already upward trend, this was a significant rise, thanks to pandemic-fueled stress. Keeping with current trends, the increase was mostly seen in the US South and Midwest regions, and minority populations in particular.1
In 2018, 42.4 percent of US adults were considered obese (defined as a body mass index/BMI of 30 or greater). Comparatively, 30.5 percent of us were obese in 2000. At the same time, the rate of severe obesity (a BMI of 40 or higher) jumped from 4.7 percent to 9.2 percent. Though obesity in adults and children has been the norm in US culture for some time, it is still considered a serious and underappreciated chronic disease that can lead to cardiovascular and metabolic problems, cancer, and now increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness.2
In 2008, obese people averaged more than $1,400 greater medical costs than people with a healthy weight.2