About 40% of US adults are obese, government survey finds

FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2010 file photo, a subject's waist is measured during an obesity prevention study in Chicago. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, the U.S. obesity rate continues to rise, with an especially large jump in the ranks of people who are severely obese. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2010 file photo, a subject's waist is measured during an obesity prevention study in Chicago. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, the U.S. obesity rate continues to rise, with an especially large jump in the ranks of people who are severely obese. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File) (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK, N.Y. – About 4 in 10 American adults are obese, and nearly 1 in 10 is severely so, government researchers said Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention findings come from a 2017-18 health survey that measures height and weight. More than 5,000 U.S. adults took part.

The survey found that the obesity rate was 42% — higher than the 40% found in a similar 2015-16 study. The severe obesity rate was more than 9% in the new survey, up from the 8% figure in the previous one.

Those increases aren't considered statistically significant: The survey numbers are small enough that there's a mathematical chance the rates didn't truly rise.

But it's clear that adult obesity rates are trending up, said the CDC's Cynthia Ogden, one of the report's authors.

A half-century ago, about 1 in 100 American adults were severely obese. Now it's 10 times more common.

The obesity rate has risen about 40% in the last two decades.

The findings suggest that more Americans will get diabetes, heart disease and cancer, said Dr. William Dietz, a George Washington University obesity expert.