Prevalence of Obesity Among Older Adults

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2007–2010

More than one-third of older adults aged 65 and over were obese in 2007–2010.
Obesity prevalence was higher among those aged 65‒74 compared with those aged 75 and over in both men and women.
The prevalence of obesity in women aged 65–74 was higher than in women aged 75 and over in all racial and ethnic groups except non-Hispanic black women, where approximately one in two were obese among both age groups.
Between 1999‒2002 and 2007‒2010, the prevalence of obesity among older men increased.
By 2050, the number of U.S. older adults, defined as persons aged 65 and over, is expected to more than double, rising from 40.2 million to 88.5 million (1). Both aging and obesity contribute to increased health care service use (2,3). Consequently, an increase in the proportion of older adults who are obese may compound health care spending. Given the demographic changes forecasted and the potential health care costs of obesity, it is important to track the prevalence of obesity among older adults (2,3). This report presents the most recent national estimates of obesity in older adults, by sex, age, race and ethnicity, and educational attainment, and examines changes in the prevalence of obesity between 1999 and 2010.
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