Obesity is reaching epidemic proportions. It’s the plague of the 21st century. Meanwhile, America’s become so politically correct that it’s almost impossible to discuss the “sensitive” issue in depth. Official statistics underestimate obesity, and interest groups are content this issue isn’t addressed properly. Insider Monkey, your source for free insider trading data, compiled 15 shocking facts that you didn’t know about obesity.
1.Official CDC obesity estimates are lower than the actual rates because they rely on self-reported height. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. Since both men and women say they’re taller than they actually are, the official obesity stats are lower than the actual rates.
2. Women not only lie about their height, they also lie about their weight. They say they’re not as heavy as they actually are. As a result, official obesity rates for women are much lower than are the true obesity rates.
3. The 2009 CDC obesity rate estimate of 26.7% is 7.2 percentage points lower than the 2008 estimate of 33.9% from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). One explanaiton for the difference? Height and weight were measured rather than self-reported in the NHANES estimates.
4. People with less than a high school degree have the highest obesity rate (32.9%). High school graduates (29.5%) have about the same obesity rates as college drop-outs (29.1%). College graduates have the lowest obesity rate of 20.8% in 2009. This doesn’t mean that the “freshman 15” is a myth. It just implies that those who don’t go to college probably gain more than the 15 pounds freshmen gain around the campuses in America.
5. Non-Hispanic black people have the highest obesity rate of 36.8%.
6. Hispanics have an obesity rate of 30.7%.
7. Non-Hispanic white people have an obesity rate of 25.2%. Other races (i.e. Asians) have the lowest obesity rate of 16.7%.
8. The overall obesity rate increases for older age groups until the age of 60. 18-29 year olds have an obesity rate of 20.3%. The rate is 27.8% for 30-39 age group, 29.4% for 40-49 age group, 31.1% for 50-59 age group. The obesity rate declines slightly to 30.9% for the 60-69 age group. Those who manage to stay alive past the age of 69 have an obesity rate of 20.5%.
9. Women really lie about their height and weight. Their obesity rate is lower than men in the 18-59 age group. They probably stop lying after the age of 60 because among the people above 60 years old, women have a higher obesity rate.
10. Obesity is expensive to treat. Annual medical costs of obesity are as high as $147 Billion. On average, obese people have medical costs that are $1429 more than medical costs of normal weight people.
11. The government declared that “Past efforts and investments to prevent and control obesity have not been adequate” and decided to start new initiatives such as the “Let’s Move!” campaign. Insider Monkey is afraid that the government will soon force cheese companies to put pictures of obese people on their packaging, in the same way regulators require cigarette makers to put disgusting pictures related to smoking on cigarette packages.
12. Approximately 72.5 million American adults are obese. Obesity is one of the factors causing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Obese people are doing something the Obama administration can’t do: creating well paying healthcare jobs by eating themselves to death. Look at these two maps showing obesity rates and diabetes rates. They are almost identical. Do you think this is just a coincidence? Lipitor maker Pfizer (PFE), top diabetes drug maker Novo Nordisk (NVO) and McDonalds (MCD) owe a big thank you to obese people!
13. Colorado, District of Columbia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Hawaii have the lowest obesity rates in the country. Obesity rates are lowest in the Northeast and West coast. Obesity rates are highest in Midwest and South (See the list of top 10 states with the highest obesity rates).
14. Contrary to the recent trends, the obesity rate has declined in some states during the 2008-2009 recession. Obesity rates in Alaska and Oregon went down by more than 3 percentage points. DC, Georgia, Minnesota, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Colorado managed to reduce obesity rates as well. Find out which states had alarmingly skyrocketing obesity rates.
15. The United States has the highest obesity rate in the world. The US is also the biggest Big Mac consumer in the world.