Epidemiology of Obesity

Obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of ≥30 kg/m2, is a major public health concern. More than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults are obese.20 Obesity and obesity related conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, etc. are some of the leading causes of preventable death, and the estimated annual medical costs related to obesity and its sequelae were $147 billion in 2008.20 Obesity is higher in middle-aged Americans and in some racial and ethnic minorities. Non-hispanic blacks have the highest rates of age-adjusted obesity (47.8%), followed by Hispanics (42.5%), non-Hispanic whites (32.6%), and non-Hispanic Asians (10.8%).21 Obesity is highest among individuals 40-59 years old (39.5%) when compared to rates in younger or older adults.21 Obesity is also associated with lower socio-economic status with lower income and educational levels correlated to higher rates of obesity.22 Given the high prevalence of obesity and the overlap of risk indicators between obesity and periodontal disease, it is critical dental care providers are aware of the interactions and able to adequately counsel patients and customize treatment protocols.

Figure 1. Obesity in the United States in 2015.100

Map showing obesity rates in the US.