33 The Demography of Obesity

  • Ginny Garcia-AlexanderEmail author
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


A steady rise in obesity prevalence over several decades has led to considerable scholarly interest in its causes and consequences. Demographers have contributed a great deal to this body of research by examining variations within and across populations, establishing its link to mortality and morbidity, providing forecast and projections of future levels, and considering how its’ presence is variable by demographic characteristics. This chapter begins with a review of overall global trends in obesity and a discussion of the evolution of research on this topic – including background on the measures used to track obesity prevalence. Next, it offers a summary of how obesity varies by key demographic variables, followed by a discussion of its health and social consequences. Population shifts that contribute to increased obesity prevalence are considered next. The chapter concludes with methodological approaches and challenges, as well as future research directions.


Demography of obesity Globesity BMI Obesity causes and consequences Health demography Obesity prevalence Obesity forecasts Obesity epidemic Morbidity/mortality risk Severe obesity 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA

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