CDC Reports Obesity Rates Saw Major Increase in Last Decade

Washington, DC, September 20, 2021 – To the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) disappointment, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has officially reported that 16 states now have obesity rates of 35% or more. This staggering and discouraging figure went up from only 12% in 2019, and is a huge increase over the last decade from just zero states reporting rates at the 35% level back in 2012.

The CDC noted that adults with obesity are at an increased risk for serious health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and poorer mental health, as a result. Obesity has also been found to increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

The CDC recommends improved nutrition and increased physical activity to help prevent obesity and support weight maintenance to help reduce substantial health care costs and early loss of life. 

The SFIA applauds the CDC for promoting action at the policy and systems level to ensure obesity prevention and weight management starts in one’s early years, and that everyone has access to quality food and space to be healthy and physically active.

“The obesity problem in the U.S. continues to get worse and will have a negative impact on America’s physical and economic health for generations if we do not enact policies to reverse this trend,” says Tom Cove, President and CEO of SFIA. “Chronic disease is what drives our healthcare spending. The good news is we can reduce both sickness and health care costs by promoting healthy lifestyles.” 

The CDC announcement follows a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study on the cognitive benefits of activity. Researchers found that the exercise induced hormone, irisin, improves cognitive performance in mice and could be used to treat disorders such as Alzheimer’s.   

The SFIA supports efforts to provide more activity spaces through Land & Water Conservation Grants and CDC’s High Obesity Program. Congress and the Federal Government need to do more to prevent this disease through increased activity, or the U.S. will continue on its current path and healthcare will, in turn, eat up more of our GDP and harm our economy. Lower healthcare spending per person will stretch our healthcare dollars to provide greater coverage for all Americans.

Cove states, “We know the problem, but we also know some solutions. Policies and programs to get Americans to be more active and to make good dietary choices will make a difference, and should be a national priority.”


ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs and member services. For more information, please visit

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