Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity Among Women of Childbearing Age: Results from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth



Objective To estimate the prevalence of overweight and obesity among U.S. women of childbearing age. Methods Our study population was drawn from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) and consisted of non-pregnant female respondents aged 20–44 years with a valid body mass index (BMI) (N = 5,958). Univariate and bivariate analyses were conducted to document variations in the prevalence of overweight and obesity by age, race and Hispanic origin, and socioeconomic status. Results Overall, 24.5% of women 20–44 years of age were overweight (BMI 25.0–29.9 kg/m2) and 23.0% were obese (BMI ≥ 30.0 kg/m2). Among those who were obese, 10.3% met the criteria for class II or III obesity (BMI ≥ 35.0 kg/m2). Non-Hispanic black and women were 2.25 times more likely to be overweight or obese compared to non-Hispanic white women (95% CI: 1.87–2.69). This disparity in risk between non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white women declined and no longer achieved statistical significance after adjustment for education, household income, and health insurance coverage. Conclusions Nearly one in two U.S. women of childbearing age are either overweight or obese. The racial/ethnic disparity in prevalence rates may be due in part to variability in educational attainment, household income, and stability of health insurance coverage.


Body weight Epidemiology Health care surveys Women’s health 



Dr. Vahratian was supported by the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health Program, National Institutes of Health (1 K12 HD 01438).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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