More than 40 percent of U.S. women are considered clinically obese, the Associated Press reports.
About 35 percent of men and 17 percent of children fall into the same category. Although rates of obesity in the U.S. have remained relatively steady in the past ten years, they have surged recently, especially among women. A person is considered obese when their BMI is 30 or greater.
The average American woman is 5’4″, and would have to weigh 174 pounds to be considered obese. The average man is 5’9″ and would have to weigh 203 pounds.
“It’s a really alarming figure, and it’s alarming that it’s continuing to go up despite government calls to action on weight loss and healthy eating,” said Dana Hunnes, a nutritionist at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.
While doctors have not been able to pinpoint what has caused this sudden uptake in obesity, some have theorized that “there are a range of possible explanations, including that many women are satisfied with a larger body size.”