Current Obesity Reports

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 276–288 | Cite as

Epidemiology of Obesity in Adults: Latest Trends

  • Yosuke Inoue
  • Bo Qin
  • Jennifer Poti
  • Rebeccah Sokol
  • Penny Gordon-LarsenEmail author
Obesity Treatment (CM Apovian, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Obesity Treatment


Purpose of Review

An increasing trend in obesity prevalence since the early 1980s has posed a significant population health burden across the globe. We conducted a systematic review for studies using measured anthropometry to examine trends in obesity in the USA published from 2012 to 2018 and for systematic reviews to document trends in obesity across the globe published from 2014 to 2018.

Recent Findings

For the USA, the only nationally representative data source capturing trends in obesity in this period was the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which uses repeated cross-sectional data to document national trends in obesity in the USA. For global trends, the only systematic reviews of obesity across the globe were the Global Burden of Disease Obesity study and the Non-communicable Disease Risk Factor Collaboration study. In general, the population distribution of body mass index (BMI) in the USA has shifted towards the upper end of its distribution over the past three decades. The global distribution has similarly increased, albeit with large regional differences.


US and global studies suggest an increasing trend in obesity since the 1980s, and there is a dearth of nationally representative longitudinal studies using measured anthropometry to capture trends in adult obesity in the USA for the same individuals over time. Greater efforts are needed to identify factors contributing to the continued increases in obesity.


Obesity Prevalence Population health Body mass index 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Yosuke Inoue, Bo Qin, Jennifer Poti and Rebeccah Sokol declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Penny Gordon-Larsen is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

13679_2018_317_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary Table 1 (DOCX 18 kb)
13679_2018_317_MOESM2_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary Table 2 (DOCX 17 kb)


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yosuke Inoue
    • 1
  • Bo Qin
    • 2
  • Jennifer Poti
    • 3
  • Rebeccah Sokol
    • 4
  • Penny Gordon-Larsen
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Carolina Population CenterThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Department of Population ScienceRutgers Cancer Institute of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA
  3. 3.Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public HealthThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  4. 4.Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public HealthThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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