Student Well-Being

NCES: More Young Adults Struggling With Weight; Exercise Rates Flat

By Bryan Toporek — December 21, 2011 1 min read

Over the past 10 years, the percentage of young adults considered either overweight or obese has continued to rise, but they aren’t dramatically shifting their exercise habits in response, according to a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics.

My colleague Sarah Sparks wrote about the general findings from the study over on the Inside School Research blog yesterday. I’m here to dig into the weight & obesity and exercise statistics a little closer.

The NCES study examines data from young adults between the ages of 14 and 24 over the course of the past 30 years. According to the data, the number of 18- to 24-year-olds whose body mass indexes were considered healthy dropped by more than 5 percentage points from 1999 and 2008.

Meanwhile, the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds considered overweight or obese both rose in that same time frame. Overall, 24.2 percent of young adults were considered overweight in 1999, compared with 26.4 percent in 2008; overall obesity rose from 13.4 percent in 1999 to 16.3 percent in 2008.

There doesn’t appear to be any difference based on gender. Both males and females were more likely to be considered overweight or obese in 2008 than they were in 1999, according to the data.

One finding I’m fascinated by: The percentage of underweight young adults

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.