New data suggest we might be even fatter than we thought.
More than two-thirds of adults ages 25 and older in the U.S. weigh too much, a new study has found.
Seventy-five percent of men and 66.58 percent of women ages 25 and older in the U.S. are either overweight or obese, according to the study, which was published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Those figures break down to 39.96 percent of men and 29.74 percent of women who are overweight and 35.04 percent of men and 36.84 percent of women who were obese.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers adults with a body mass index, or BMI, of over 25 overweight and over 30 obese. BMI is calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters; you can calculate your own BMI on the CDC's website.
Researchers got their stats by analyzing data on 15,208 people collected for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2007 and 2012.
'A wake-up call'
Obesity rates have risen quite a bit in the past 20 years, with a previous study pegging the proportion of U.S. residents who were overweight or obese in 1988 to 1994 at 63 percent for men and 55 percent for women, the new study's authors pointed out.
Obesity rates have risen the most for black women, 17.3 percent of whom are now considered morbidly obese, with a BMI of 40 or above.
"We see this as a wake-up call to implement policies and practices designed to combat overweight and obesity, to implement what we already know into place to accelerate the obesity prevention and treatment," study co-author Lin Yang, a post-doctoral researcher at Washington University School of Medicine in Missouri, told CBS News.
Being overweight or obese increases the risk factors for a several diseases, including heart disease, Type II diabetes, different types of cancer, heart disease and stroke, according to the CDC.
Personal and policy choices
Yang told CBS individual decisions can help combat the obesity epidemic, like choosing to take the stairs instead of an elevator.
However, policy decisions should also play a role, she told CBS and HealthDay, like making communities more bike- and pedestrian-friendly and increasing "accessibility to affordable, healthy food."
American Heart Association President Dr. Elliott Antman agreed, telling HealthDay foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat are often easier to get than healthy food.
"Fast foods are less expensive, so that individuals trying to feed a large family might tend to purchase them rather than fresh foods, which are harder to find and more expensive, and therefore less economically appealing," Antman told HealthDay.
This isn't the first study to indicate America's waistlines are expanding. Just last week, a CDC report said American women now weigh an average of 166 pounds, which is what the typical American man weighed 50 years ago. The average American man's weight has ballooned to 195 pounds.