January 22, 2019
Fat woman measuring her stomach
Wellness Tip

Rising Rates of Extreme Obesity

by Berkeley Wellness  

Nearly 10 percent of American women are now in the highest category of obesity, according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That means they have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, which works out to more than 233 pounds for a woman 5'4" tall. About 5 percent of men fall into this category—more than 279 pounds for a man 5'10" tall. Overall, 40 percent of women and 35 percent of men are obese (BMI of 30 or higher). Those numbers are unchanged since 2005 for men but significantly higher for women.

About 17 percent of children and teenagers (ages 2 to 19) are obese, including 6 percent who are very obese, up slightly from 2005, according to a second study in that journal.

It's unclear why obesity is increasing more among women than men.

Also see What's Behind the Obesity Epidemic.