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Impacts of Obesity

Obesity – a global epidemic

Obesity is one of the most serious health concerns facing the world today. Over the past 30 years, the incidence of obesity has doubled in adults and tripled in children in the United States. Obesity also has become a health threat worldwide with an increase in the number of people affected globally. In preschool children (aged 0-5 years old) alone, an estimated 43 million worldwide have obesity, a 60 percent increase since 1990.

As patients, families, communities and nations, we need to continue to address this epidemic and to work toward changing these trends and improving health and wellness around the world.

Fast facts


  • 1.9 billion adults have excess weight, of which over 600 million have obesity
    • 13% of the world's adult population is obese

United States

  • 78.6 million adults with obesity
    • 35 percent of the adult population
  • 12.7 million children with obesity
    • 8 percent of 2-5 year olds
    • 18 percent of 6-11 year olds
    • Over 20 percent of 12-19 year olds

For more information on overweight and obesity, including statistics and other key facts and resources, visit:

What is BMI?

BMI stands for body mass index. BMI is a number, calculated based on a person's height and weight, that is used as a screening tool for obesity.  Calculate BMI

What is wellness?

At the Weight & Wellness Center, we define wellness as a self-directed and active process to promote well-being and balance in all areas of one's life—social, physical, environmental, spiritual, financial, occupational, intellectual, and emotional.

How does obesity affect wellness?

Obesity is a complex disease that negatively affects all areas of wellness. In particular, obesity impacts health in many ways. There are a number of medical conditions associated with obesity, and it can even shorten people's lives.

There also are a number of myths about obesity and weight loss that affect not only how people with obesity and excess weight feel about themselves, but also what they believe is possible in terms of weight loss and improved health.

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