Background: Obesity is a significant public health problem in the United States. Comprehensive obesity prevalence data among veterans have not been previously reported. Methods: This is a cross-sectional analysis of 1,803,323 veterans receiving outpatient care at 136 Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities in 2000. Measured weight, height, and demographic data were used to obtain age-adjusted prevalences of body mass index (BMI) categories, which were stratified by gender and examined by age and race/ethnicity. Results: Of 93,290 women American veterans receiving care at VA medical facilities during 2000, 68.4% were at least overweight (body mass index [BMI]<25 kg/m2), with 37.4% classified as obese (BMI<30 kg/m2), and 6.0% as class-III obese (BMI<40 kg/m2). Of 1,710,032 men, 73.0% were at least overweight, 32.9% were obese, and 3.3% were class-III obese. Among women, obesity prevalence increased into the sixth and seventh decade of life before prevalence began to decline. Among men, prevalence was lowest for those aged <30 and >70. By race/ethnicity, Native American women (40.7%) and men (35.1%) had the highest prevalence of obesity, while Asian-American women (12.8%) and men (20.6%) had the lowest. Conclusions: There is a substantial burden of obesity among veterans using VA medical facilities. A comprehensive approach for weight management by the Veterans Health Administration is needed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health