News Release

Prevalence of overweight, obesity in the United States

Peer-Reviewed Publication

JAMA Network

New estimates suggest that more than two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Overweight and obesity are associated with a variety of chronic health conditions, which could potentially be avoided by preventing weight gain and obesity.

Graham A. Colditz, M.D., Dr.P.H., and Lin Yang, Ph.D., of the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2007 to 2012 to estimate the prevalence of overweight and obesity. They collected data for 15,208 men and women 25 or older, a sample that was representative of more than 188 million people.

The study, which was reported in a research letter, estimates that 39.96 percent of men (36.3 million) and 29.74 percent of women (almost 28.9 million) were overweight and 35.04 percent of men (31.8 million) and 36.84 percent of women (nearly 35.8 million) were obese.

"Population-based strategies helping to reduce modifiable risk factors such as physical environment interventions, enhancing primary care efforts to prevent and treat obesity, and altering societal norms of behavior are required," the authors conclude.


(JAMA Intern Med. Published online June 22, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.2405. Available pre-embargo to the media at

Editor's Note: This study was supported by a grant from the Washington University School of Medicine Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer Center; the Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Media Advisory: To contact corresponding author Graham A. Colditz, M.D., Dr.P.H., call Judy Martin at 314-286-0105 or email

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