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Prevalence of Obesity in the US


This research was carried out to determine the latest national estimates of obesity among children in the US and to produce an analysis of the trends in child obesity between 2003 and 2012. It also attempted to give a follow up of the most recent analysis, by age, of obesity among adults. Overweight prevalence estimates presented though patterns were not outlined because of the lack of unclear trends prior to the investigation period.  The objective of this research is to give the latest data on child obesity, provide an analysis of obesity trends in the period of 2003 to 2012, and to analyze obesity trends in the adult population. This study used an earlier research that had estimated that one-third of the US adults and 17% of the youths were obese (Ogden, Carroll, Kit, & Flegal, 2014).

The subject of this research has been of great importance to the US health sector. There have been many public health efforts to deal with this problem. The Center for Disease Control has been in the forefront of this campaign by providing funds to community and state interventions to eradicate this menace. The analysis used in this research is based on the measurements of height and weight given by the 2011-2012 survey of the National Health and Nutrition Examination. There were about 9120 participants in the 2011-2012 weight and height survey. For newborns and infants to 2 years, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s growth charts were used. In order to determine obesity using this chart, high weight is taken as the weight for the length of the 95th percentile of the chart. From 2 years to 19 years, obesity was considered to be the body mass index of the 95th percentile of the growth chart. The chart is specific to the sex since the definition of obesity differs according to the sex of the participant. Other than the sex, the age of the participants were also considered when reading the obesity chart.  For the adult participants, obesity was taken to be a BMI of 30 or higher value.


The trends were divided into ages and across five periods. The results of the study showed that the obesity level of infants was 8.1%, for the 2-year-19-year- age-group was 16.9%, while for the adults it was 34.9%. There were no significant variations in the obesity trends among these three groups. However, obesity among the women aged 60 years and above increased from 31.5% to 38.1%. The NHANES method was used for the study to collect and generate results. The method used both examinations and interviews to amass data for the analysis.

The sample data is an accurate representation of the national population. The data collected through this system is released after every two years to ensure  confidentially of the sample. The latest data for this analysis was taken in in the 2011-2012 period.  In this same period, 70% of the participants were subjected to examination, while the remaining 30% were surveyed for information.  SAS version 9.3 and SUDAAN version 11.0 were used to analyze the collected results. The Taylor series linearization method was employed to estimate the standard error, as to deal with the complexities of the design of the sample. Among the female population, the pregnant women were excluded from the analysis. The direct method was used to standardize the estimates of obesity among 20-year-olds and above. The projected estimates were normalized for the US Census of 2000.

Evaluation of the Research Method

The authors of the article have not provided a literature review. Instead, they have only talked about the data and estimates from the government data bank that they have used in this study. Obesity is a public menace in the US. This condition has spurred to action both public and private health institutions whose aim is to deal with its prevalence in the population. These entities have taken a preventive approach to the disease. The basis of the research is to identify the areas of interest so that strategies and programs for corrective actions may be designed. Obesity is a current health concern in America.This research is therefore very relevant to today’s health issues.

The type of research used in this study is quasi-experimental. In the collection of data, both examination and survey were used. About 70 %of the participants were subjected to medical examination, while the remaining 30 %participated in the survey. This gives a mixture of results that were both collected through the scientific method and evaluation. The analysis of the sample results was then conducted experimentally to collect the data that guided the discussion and conclusion. The sample size gave a good representation of the population. The 9120 sample size is a fair representation of the population under study.

In coming up with the number of participants, the researchers considered the sex and the age brackets of the sample population. The study was conducted on the newborns all the way to the adults over 60 years old. The study attempted to determine the prevalence of obesity among various age groups.  It was to further indicate the trends that this condition has taken over the years, beginning from 2003 to 2012. The results were to be used for comparison and analysis. The sample was not biased. It was selected randomly with no consideration other than the age and sex. It was hence appropriate for the research, given that the objective was to study obesity across the population. It did not have any age limits or sex restrictions save for the pregnant women. They were left out because of the complexities of their health and body conditions arising from the pregnancy.

The work is very practical due to the methods used in collecting information, obtaining the results, and analyzing them. The results of the research are in line with the data obtained by other researchers in the  same period. The study also factored in the US Census of 2000 as a basis of its data. The aim of the research was to show the levels of obesity in the population and the trends of this condition across all ages. It concluded that the percentages of obesity were still high in the US, and thus there is a need to keep the surveillance.

The authors have suggested that the outcome of the results means that the country should keep up the surveillance on obesity.  I believe that this research can be used in several ways to deal with the condition. The first way is the formulation of policies and intervention programs. It is important that the formulators of health policies and those who want to initiate intervention programs follow these figures and the analysis. In doing so, they will know the areas to give more emphasis on, and areas that require correction or improvement. For instance, the study revealed that the level of obesity had increased among women. That means that when implementing programs on this subject, emphasis and attention should be given to this group.

The second way to use these results is to design control and preventive measures. The data for distribution of obesity will be very vital. The third way  is to provide other health or nutritional materials that are crucial in combating obesity. The method of determining the body weight used in this case is BMI. I believe that the researchers could have used other methods to determine the body weight. One of the methods is the waist circumference since it is the simplest and easiest way to determine the level of obesity. It can be integrated with BMI, especially for cases that do not require detailed medical analysis (Harvard School of Public Health, n.d.).

The waist circumference method could have dealt with the limitations of BMI. The article is clear and straight forward on the study of obesity and its prevalence in the US. The paper has clearly outlined the methods and procedures. This research only focused on the spread, trends, and general level of obesity in the sample population. More research can be done on the causes and factors that propagate the advance of this condition. These factors can be examined in different age groups so that corrective measures that have been taken are specific. Further research will guide the design of programs and formulation of policies.


This research has focused on a health issue that is of prime concern to the public health. Obesity is a condition that comes with other health related complications and, therefore, needs supervision and vigilance. If not treated, this condition can lead to heart-related diseases like hypertension, high blood pressure, and stroke. This work  was meant to highlight the patterns of spread and prevalence of this disease. Research on this issue helps in planning and implementing programs and policies to combat obesity. The result of the study is viable for application of preventive measures.