Obesity Rates Consistent Across Income Levels

Obesity rates increased for children and adults across all income levels over a period of 20 years, according to two recent government reports.

Two new reports released by the U. S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) show that the obesity epidemic is spread across the economic spectrum.

The NCHS reports compared data on obesity rates from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988 to 1994 and 2005 to 2008. The findings showed that the prevalence of obesity increased for both children and adults across all income levels. Researchers also noted that nearly one in three Americans are clinically obese, and 17 percent of children and adolescents fit the criteria.

Minor disparities in the rate of obesity did exist, based on socio-economic factors. Although obesity rates were similar across all income levels, Hispanic and black men with higher incomes had higher obesity rates. Also, women with higher incomes were less likely to be obese when compared to others.

Both men and women are affected when education levels are factored in. More than 27 percent of men with a college degree were obese, while 32 percent of men with less than a high school education were obese. Among women, 23 percent of female with college degrees suffered from obesity, while the number jumps to 42 percent of women who lack a high school education.

Children raised in homes where the head of household had a college degree were also less likely to be obese, according to the findings. Low family income was also tied to a higher likelihood of obesity among children, but this outcome was not consistent across race and ethnicity groups according to the NCHS.