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2016 to 2019 Saw Increase in Prepregnancy Obesity in U.S.

Increase seen across women of all ages, Hispanic origin groups, educational levels

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 25, 2020 (HealthDay News) — From 2016 to 2019, there was an increase in prepregnancy obesity in the United States, according to a November data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.

Anne K. Driscoll, Ph.D., and Elizabeth C.W. Gregory, M.P.H., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, present trends in prepregnancy obesity for 2016 through 2019 by maternal race and Hispanic origin, age, and educational attainment using data from the National Vital Statistics System.

The researchers observed an increase in prepregnancy obesity in the United States, from 26.1 percent in 2016 to 29.0 percent in 2019; steady increases were seen for non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic women. Among women of all ages, there was an increase in prepregnancy obesity from 2016 to 2019, with the lowest level seen among women aged younger than 20 years (20.5 percent in 2019). Obesity increased from 2016 to 2019 among all education levels; prepregnancy obesity was more likely among women with less than a bachelor’s degree versus those with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Prepregnancy obesity rose in every state but Vermont in 2019 compared with 2016.

“During 2019, almost three in 10 (29.0 percent) women had obesity prior to becoming pregnant, an 11 percent increase from 2016 that continued the pattern seen prior to 2016,” the authors write. “Increases occurred across all maternal ages, race and Hispanic-origin groups, and educational levels shown in this report.”

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