More adult Americans are now obese and overweight, and greater numbers are obese than are overweight, according to new data published online ahead of print June 22 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers estimate that 67.6 million Americans aged 25 years or older are obese and another 65.2 million are overweight. 

Lin Yang, PhD, and Graham A. Colditz, MD, DrPH, analyzed a sample population that included 15,208 men and women aged 25 years and older, which is representative of more than 188 million people, to estimate the prevalence of obesity and overweight by gender, age, and race/ethnicity. They found that overall, almost 75% of men and 67% of women in the United States are overweight or obese. African-Americans have the highest rates of obesity, with 39% of men and 57% of women considered obese.

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In addition, 17% of African-American women and 7% of African-American men are extremely obese, with a BMI higher than 40. Among Mexican-Americans, 38% of men and 43% of women are obese. For whites, 35% of men and 34% of women are obese. 

The authors suggest that primary care plays an important role in addressing this public health issue, with risk-reducing interventions to prevent and treat obesity.