Prevalence of obesity in American Indians and Alaska Natives

Am J Clin Nutr. 1991 Jun;53(6 Suppl):1535S-1542S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/53.6.1535S.


Obesity is an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and non-insulin-dependent diabetes, which are chronic diseases that afflict American Indians and Alaska Natives today. Because American Indians are not represented in most national health and nutrition surveys, there is a paucity of data on actual prevalence of obesity in American Indians. We estimated prevalence of overweight and obesity for American Indian adults, school-age children, and preschool children from existing data. The prevalence of obesity in adults was estimated from self-reported weights and heights obtained from a special survey of American Indians performed as part of the 1987 National Medical Expenditure Survey. Prevalence of obesity in American Indians was 13.7% for men and 16.5% for women, which was higher than the US rates of 9.1% and 8.2%, respectively. Obesity rates in American Indian adolescents and preschool children were higher than the respective rates for US all-races combined.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alaska / epidemiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Skinfold Thickness
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology