8 in 10 US Adults Overweight

May 25, 2011

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harris-health-risks-may-2011.jpgAbout eight in 10 (78%) US adults are overweight, according to results of an April 2011 Harris Poll. In addition, about one in five (18%) smoke cigarettes.

Overweight, Obese Figures Fairly Consistent

The 78% of US adults who are overweight is consistent with the five-year average of 80% recorded from 2006-2010. In addition, the 38% of US adults who are obese (20% or more overweight) is relatively close to the 35% who were obese on average between 2006 and 2010.

BMI Shows Lower Overweight Figures

harris-bmi-may-2011.JPGThe above figures are based on MetLife tables based on height, weight and body frame. However, using the newer Body Mass Index (BMI), based on self-reported height and weight, only 63% of US adults are overweight (BMI of 25 or more) and 28% are obese (BMI of 30 or more). These figures have been fairly consistent since 2006, with an overall dip in 2008 (58% overweight and 23% obese). 2008 results were similar to those in 2005, when 59% of adults were overweight and 23% were obese.

Smoking Slowly But Steadily Drops

Cigarette smoking has shown a slow but steady decline since the three-year average of 1983-85, when 29% of adults smoked cigarettes. Cigarette usage shows an inverse trend to being overweight and obese, which have both steadily climbed in frequency since 1983-85 according to MetLife tables, when 59% of adults were overweight and 15% were obese.

Other Tobacco Usage Remains Minimal

harris-tobacco-may-2011.JPGUsage of tobacco products besides cigarettes, such as cigars, pipes and chewing tobacco, has consistently been low since 2006. In 2011, 2% of adults smoked a pipe, 4% smoked cigars and 3% chewed tobacco. Adding these products to cigarettes, the study finds 22% of adults use some form of tobacco.

Gallup: More than 1 in 5 Metro Adults Obese

More than 20% of Americans were obese in 174 of the 188 US metropolitan areas that the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index surveyed in 2010. In the most obese of these metro areas, Evansville, IN-KY, 37.8% of residents were obese, compared with 12.9% in the least obese place, Boulder, CO.

About the Data: This Harris Poll was conducted by telephone and online, within the US between April 11 and 18, 2011 among a nationwide cross section of 1,987 adults (aged 18 and older).

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