Weighing Down America: 2020 Update

Weighing

The economic and social cost of obesity in America is at an all-time high and continues to rise. We estimate its cost to be roughly 6.76 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018 compared to 5.57 percent in 2014.

The latest statistics show noticeable growth in obesity prevalence, from 2014 to 2018, within the male population, especially white males and males of all races aged 20-59. In contrast, the data look more encouraging for women, with obesity rates among all women aged 40-59 showing a marked decline during the same period.

Obesity impacts segments of the US population differently based on their behavioral and socioeconomic profiles. The Milken Institute COVID-19 Community Explorer sorts US counties around eight profiles of communities that share common patterns across behavioral, economic, and social factors. 

This report uses these communities and identifies which of the 26 factors considered are systemically correlated with high obesity rates for each community.

Updated/Published December 1, 2020