Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 403–426

A Demographic Analysis of the Rise in the Prevalence of the US Population Overweight and/or Obese


DOI: 10.1007/s11113-008-9073-x

Cite this article as:
Cook, A. & Daponte, B. Popul Res Policy Rev (2008) 27: 403. doi:10.1007/s11113-008-9073-x


Using data from the National Health Interview Survey for years spanning 1976 and 2001, this paper presents an age–period–cohort analysis of weight gain throughout the life cycle. We find that while all ages experienced an increase in the prevalence of those overweight and/or obese, the prevalence among young adults has grown at a faster rate than that of older age groups. The increases in body mass index are primarily due to period effects, not cohort or age effects. From the ordered logistical regression analyses, we find that the protective influence of factors such as education, income, and age on an individual’s body mass index have decreased over time. The analyses suggest that the increase in the prevalence of those overweight or obese is a phenomenon experienced by all demographic groups in the US, albeit to differing degrees.


Body mass index Obesity Overweight Weight gain Cohort effects Period effects 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and ManagementCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Institution for Social and Policy StudiesYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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