HEALTHY LIVING
10/26/2012 08:34 am ET | Updated Oct 26, 2012

Obesity On The Rise: Whose Waistlines Are Growing In The U.S.?

Bad news: Obesity is on the rise for nearly all adult Americans.

According to a recent poll, published by Gallup on Oct. 24, obesity rates have climbed in virtually all age groups over the past four years.

Most dramatically, 30.4 percent of Americans in their mid-40s (ages 44 to 47) are obese, a notable 2.5 percent increase from 2008.

Gallup surveyed 579,210 Americans aged 18 and older in 2012 and compared that to data from 2008 as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The poll respondents self-reported their height and weight, which Gallup then used to calculate their BMIs using the standard formula. A BMI of 30 or greater diagnoses obesity.

Gallup analyzed obesity rates in American adults classified in four-year age ranges to avoid any overlapping between groups. Since nearly all groups saw an increase in obesity percentage, it only makes sense that the national average has grown over the past four years as well: in 2012, 26.1 percent of Americans are considered to be obese, compared to 25.5 percent in 2008.

There are a few exceptions to the poll's findings: the 60- to 63-year-old group had a .1 percent decrease in obesity over the past four years. Americans ages 24 to 27 did not sway either way -- the group stayed consistent with a 19.9 percent obesity rate.

While younger adults -- those under 35 years -- are only slightly more likely to be obese today than they were in 2008, these groups are likely, as a group, to become obese in the future. We all know how dangerous obesity is, increasing risk of diabetes, heart disease and many cancers. What's less well known are some of the condition's side effects, including fatigue and sleeplessness, increased risk for osteoporosis and an increased risk for erectile dysfunction.

But whose waistlines are growing the fastest? Find out in the slideshow below. What demographic do you fall into? Are you surprised by these findings? Let us know in the comments section.

Percent Of Obesity Growth By Age Group

To see the original poll from Gallup, click here.

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