A new study has shown that Americans are most likely to put on weight during their 20s and 30s.
Americans gain on average over 17 pounds between their 20s and 30s and over 45lb over a lifetime, according to a new study looking at the severity of the obesity epidemic in the U.S.
The research published in the Journal of Obesity looked at long-term weight gain of almost 14,000 adults in the U.S. with some striking new findings. One fifth of American adults gained 20% of their body weight or more over a 10 year period, with more than a third gaining 10% or more and over half gaining 5% of more.
“The U.S. obesity epidemic is not slowing down,” said Larry Tucker, a Professor of Exercise Science at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. “Without question, 10-year weight gain is a serious problem within the U.S. adult population,” added Tucker.
The research used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a CDC scheme to monitor the nutrition, health and fitness of Americans by looking at a representative sample of about 5,000 people annually.
The study found that women gained around twice as much as men over 10 years, on average 12 pounds for women and 6 for men. Including race in the analysis found that Black women had the greatest average weight gain over the 10 year study period, gaining on average 19.4 pounds. Conversely, Asian men experienced the least weight gain, at 2.9 pounds.
“In roughly 20 years, the prevalence of obesity increased by approximately 40% and severe obesity almost doubled,” said Tucker.
The researchers also analyzed the age at which people tended to gain the most weight. Younger adults gained the most, on average 17.6 pounds between their 20s and 30s, with this decreasing as people age and people gaining an average of 4.6 pounds between their 50s and 60s. If an American were to gain the average amount of weight during each decade of adult life, they would put on more than 45 pounds, which would make many of them obese.
According to the most recent statistics from the CDC, 41.9% of U.S. adults are obese, a sharp rise from 30.5% in the early 2000’s – and the World Health Organization has declared the obesity epidemic a public health crisis, with obese individuals at a higher risk of numerous diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
“By knowing who is more likely to become obese, we can help health care providers and public health officials focus more on at-risk individuals,” said Tucker.