FIGURE 1-2 Obesity prevalence among U.S. children and adolescents by age and time frame, 1963 to 2004.

NOTE: Data for 1963 to 1965 are for children ages 6 to 11 years; data for 1966 to 1970 are for adolescents 12 to 17 years of age instead of 12 to 19 years. In this report, children with BMI levels at or above the 95th percentile of the CDC age-and sex-specific BMI curves for 2000 are referred to as obese, and children with BMI levels at or greater than the 85th percentile but less than the 95th percentile are referred to as being at risk for obesity. These cutoff points correspond to the terms overweight and at risk for overweight, respectively, that CDC uses for children and youth.

NHES=National Health Examination Survey; NHANES=National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

SOURCES: CDC (2005b); Ogden et al. (2002, 2006).

Economic Costs

In 2004, health care spending in the United States represented an estimated 16 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), or $1.9 trillion, which translates to $6,280 per person (Smith et al., 2006). By 2015, the U.S. government forecasts that health care expenditures will reach $4 trillion, or nearly 20 percent of the nation’s GDP (Borger et al., 2006). Thorpe and colleagues (2004) estimated the increases in obesity-attributable health care spending from 1987 to 2001 and found that increases in obesity prevalence alone accounted for 12 percent of the growth in health care spending. Increases in the proportion of and spending for obese adults relative to the proportion of and spending for normal weight adults ac-



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