The continuing epidemics of obesity and diabetes in the United States

JAMA. 2001 Sep 12;286(10):1195-200. doi: 10.1001/jama.286.10.1195.


Context: Recent reports show that obesity and diabetes have increased in the United States in the past decade.

Objective: To estimate the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and use of weight control strategies among US adults in 2000.

Design, setting, and participants: The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a random-digit telephone survey conducted in all states in 2000, with 184 450 adults aged 18 years or older.

Main outcome measures: Body mass index (BMI), calculated from self-reported weight and height; self-reported diabetes; prevalence of weight loss or maintenance attempts; and weight control strategies used.

Results: In 2000, the prevalence of obesity (BMI >/=30 kg/m(2)) was 19.8%, the prevalence of diabetes was 7.3%, and the prevalence of both combined was 2.9%. Mississippi had the highest rates of obesity (24.3%) and of diabetes (8.8%); Colorado had the lowest rate of obesity (13.8%); and Alaska had the lowest rate of diabetes (4.4%). Twenty-seven percent of US adults did not engage in any physical activity, and another 28.2% were not regularly active. Only 24.4% of US adults consumed fruits and vegetables 5 or more times daily. Among obese participants who had had a routine checkup during the past year, 42.8% had been advised by a health care professional to lose weight. Among participants trying to lose or maintain weight, 17.5% were following recommendations to eat fewer calories and increase physical activity to more than 150 min/wk.

Conclusions: The prevalence of obesity and diabetes continues to increase among US adults. Interventions are needed to improve physical activity and diet in communities nationwide.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Diet
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Weight Loss