Obesity in the United States has been increasingly cited as a major health issue in recent decades. While many industrialized countries have experienced similar increases, obesity rates in the United States are among the highest in the world.
Of all countries, the United States has the highest rate of obesity. From 13% obesity in 1962, estimates have steadily increased, reaching 19.4% in 1997, 24.5% in 2004, 26.6% in 2007, and 33.8% (adults) and 17% (children) in 2008. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported higher numbers once more, counting 35.7% of American adults as obese, and 17% of American children.
According to a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), in 2008, the obesity rate among adult Americans was estimated at 32.2% for men and 35.5% for women; these rates were roughly confirmed by the CDC again for 2009–2010. Using different criteria, a Gallup survey found the rate was 26.1% for U.S. adults in 2011, up from 25.5% in 2008. Though the rate for women has held steady over the previous decade, the obesity rate for men continued to increase between 1999 and 2008, the JAMA study notes. Moreover, "The prevalence of obesity for adults aged 20 to 74 years increased by 7.9 percentage points for men and by 8.9 percentage points for women between 1976–1980 and 1988–1994, and subsequently by 7.1 percentage points for men and by 8.1 percentage points for women between 1988–1994 and 1999–2000."
Obesity has been cited as a contributing factor to approximately 100,000–400,000 deaths in the United States per year and has increased health care use and expenditures, costing society an estimated $117 billion in direct (preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services related to weight) and indirect (absenteeism, loss of future earnings due to premature death) costs. This exceeds health-care costs associated with smoking or problem drinking and accounts for 6% to 12% of national health care expenditures in the United States.
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“The boys dressed themselves, hid their accoutrements, and went off grieving that there were no outlaws any more, and wondering what modern civilization could claim to have done to compensate for their loss. They said they would rather be outlaws a year in Sherwood Forest than President of the United States forever.”
—Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (18351910)
“On the whole, the great success of marriage in the States is due partly to the fact that no American man is ever idle, and partly to the fact that no American wife is considered responsible for the quality of her husbands dinners.”
—Oscar Wilde (18541900)
“The recognition of Russia on November 16, 1933, started forces which were to have considerable influence in the attempt to collectivize the United States.”
—Herbert Hoover (18741964)