The proportion of severely obese Americans — those 100 pounds or more overweight — has risen so much since 2000 that the group now constitutes the fastest-growing segment of overweight people, a new study shows.
Researchers RAND Corp. found the percentage of very obese Americans jumped from 3.9 percent of the U.S. population in 2000 to 6.6 percent in 2010 — a rise of about 70 percent.
That means more than 15 million adult Americans are morbidly obese with a body mass index of 40 or more, according to the study published online in the International Journal of Obesity. SPECIAL: These 5 Things Flush 40 lbs. of Fat Out of Your Body — Read More.
The only good news: Beginning in 2005, the rate of increase began slowing.
"The proportion of people at the high end of the weight scale continues to increase faster than any other group of obese people, despite increased public attention on the risks of obesity," said lead researcher Roland Sturm, a senior economist at the nonprofit research organization. "But for the first time in the past 20 years there is evidence the trend is slowing."
The results showed wide differences in gender and ethnicity. The rate of severe obesity was about 50 percent higher among women than men, and about twice as high among blacks as Hispanics or whites. For all levels of obesity, the increases were faster among age groups younger than 40.
The typical severely obese man weighs 300 pounds at a height of 5 feet 10 inches tall, while the typical severely obese woman weighs 250 pounds at a height of 5 feet 4 inches, researchers noted. SPECIAL: These 5 Things Flush 40 lbs. of Fat Out of Your Body — Read More.