This video showing the obesity rate in America in the last 35 years is terrifying

A viral Reddit video provides some fascinating information about obesity rates in the United States. The 49-second video spans from 1985 to 2021. It uses color and goes year by year to show that obesity rates in many states ranged from 0 to 9 percent in 1985, but will exceed 30 percent by 2021.

You should always check your sources. Reddit is not the best place for news and information. However, the CDC confirms that obesity rates in America have risen from 30.5% in 1999-2000 to 41.9% in March 2017-2020. It varies by age group, race, and socioeconomic status. Adults between the ages of 40 and 59 had the highest age-specific obesity rates (41.5%), while non-Hispanic black adults were more likely to be obese (49.9%), according to the researchers. , fewer men and women with higher education. be fatter than those who are not.

Debating obesity is a slippery slope. The body positivity movement called for greater inclusivity, acceptance, and self-love, and that race and socioeconomic status are completely or largely out of a person’s control. However, experts say it’s still important to discuss risks, treatments and reduce obesity rates in the U.S. for the best health outcomes. They shared their thoughts on obesity rates in America and how people can reduce their risks.

a self-absorbed person

Why has America’s obesity rate skyrocketed?

Jonathan Isbill, MS, RD, LD, a registered dietitian, points to lifestyle as a major factor in obesity rates, including:

  • Diet. CDC data shows that only 1 in 10 U.S. adults eat fruits and vegetables that protect against obesity. Men and people with low income have the least amount of vegetables.
  • Sedentary. A CDC study found that at least 15 percent of the adult population in every state is inactive. In most states, sedentary people ranged from about 17% to 48%.
  • Stress. Many studies link stress to obesity. Canada’s 2022 Work and Obesity Study is one of the most recent.
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Speaking of stress, the pandemic has made the problem worse, says Dr. Monique May, MD, MHA, family medicine and medical advisor for Aeroflow Sleep.

“The pandemic certainly hasn’t helped, with gyms closing and more people having to work from home,” says May.

In fact, studies show that obesity rates among US adults increased in the first year of the pandemic. Unfortunately, this increase puts more people at risk for the worst effects of COVID-19.

The CDC notes that genetics can also play a role.

a man looking at himself in the mirror

What about body positivity?

May said a body positivity movement is long overdue – no one should be shamed for their size. However, she says it’s still important to maintain an optimal weight for your personal health, which you can determine with your doctor.

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“It’s a delicate balance between the fact that obesity is a problem and loving yourself,” says May. “People should talk to their doctors to determine their ideal weight and how healthy they can be while working toward that goal. Even if they don’t recognize any symptoms right now, obesity increases their risk of many chronic diseases.

doctor hands with red stethoscope

What is the risk of obesity?

May says obesity risks include:

  • Type II diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Joint pain, such as hip, back or knee pain
  • Several types of cancer such as breast, colon, prostate and pancreas

May said people may “feel good now” but the risks are a long game.

“It’s almost certainly going to be a problem in the future,” says May.

Cook the roasted vegetables in a pan wearing yellow gloves.


Some issues, such as socioeconomic status and race, have systemic factors. Historically marginalized communities, for example, are more likely to be food deserts, according to research. However, Isbill wants people to feel empowered to improve their health. Ways to maintain or achieve a healthy weight include:

  • Diet. “Eat highly processed foods with high levels of added sugar, fat and salt,” she says. The same goes for drinks like soda. Moderation is key.
  • Physical activity. “Move in a way that’s good for your body,” she says. “If you’ve been sedentary or spend long hours at a desk for work, try to make small incremental changes to move more and diversify your regular physical activities that you enjoy.” A new study shows that taking about 8,000 steps a day can reduce the risk of obesity and other diseases, including diabetes.
  • Sleep. Isbill recommends getting 7 to 10 hours of sleep a night, which is in line with CDC guidelines.
  • Reduce stress. Ishbill says healthy coping skills, including gratitude journaling, movement, and mindful breathing can help.

America’s obesity rate has skyrocketed, and the pandemic has exacerbated the issue. Obesity is complicated and no one should feel ashamed of their weight. In addition, systemic factors such as race and socioeconomic status may place individuals at higher risk. Experts say it’s an important discussion. Obesity puts people at increased risk of diseases and conditions such as type II diabetes and cancer. Maintaining a lifestyle that reduces your risk of obesity will improve your well-being. Eating whole foods and vegetables, being physically active, reducing stress, and getting at least 7-10 hours of Zzzs every night are small ways to reduce obesity risk for yourself and your family. If you’re worried about your weight, talk to your doctor, but don’t shame others for it.

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