Hot Paper in Medicine

April 2014

“Prevalence of obesity and trends in the distribution of body mass index among US adults, 1999-2010,” by K.M. Flegal, M.D. Carroll, B.K. Kit, C.L. Ogden., JAMA – Journal of the American Medical Association, 307(5): 491-7, 1 February 2012.    

[Authors' affiliations: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Hyattsville, MD]


Abstract: “Context Between 1980 and 1999, the prevalence of adult obesity (body mass index [BMI] >= 30) increased in the United States and the distribution of BMI changed. More recent data suggested a slowing or leveling off of these trends. Objective To estimate the prevalence of adult obesity from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and compare adult obesity and the distribution of BMI with data from 1999-2008. Design, Setting, and Participants NHANES includes measured heights and weights for 5926 adult men and women from a nationally representative sample of the civilian noninstitutionalized US population in 2009-2010 and for 22 847 men and women in 1999-2008. Main Outcome Measures The prevalence of obesity and mean BMI. Results In 2009-2010 the age-adjusted mean BMI was 28.7 (95% CI, 28.3-29.1) for men and also 28.7 (95% CI, 28.4-29.0) for women. Median BMI was 27.8 (inter-quartile range [IQR], 24.7-31.7) for men and 27.3 (IQR, 23.3-32.7) for women. The age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was 35.5% (95% CI, 31.9%-39.2%) among adult men and 35.8% (95% CI, 34.0%-37.7%) among adult women. Over the 12-year period from 1999 through 2010, obesity showed no significant increase among women overall (age-and race-adjusted annual change in odds ratio [AOR], 1.01; 95% CI, 1.00-1.03; P=.07), but increases were statistically significant for non-Hispanic black women (P=.04) and Mexican American women (P=.046). For men, there was a significant linear trend (AOR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.02-1.06; P<.001) over the 12-year period. For both men and women, the most recent 2 years (2009-2010) did not differ significantly (P=.08 for men and P=.24 for women) from the previous 6 years (20032008). Trends in BMI were similar to obesity trends. Conclusion In 2009-2010, the prevalence of obesity was 35.5% among adult men and 35.8% among adult women, with no significant change compared with 2003-2008.”


This 2012 report from JAMA was cited 40 times in current journal articles indexed by Thomson Reuters during November-December 2013. During that two-month period, only one other medicine paper published in the last two years, aside from reviews, collected a higher number of citations. Prior to the most recent bimonthly tally, citations to the paper have accrued as follows, as tracked by Essential Science Indicators Hot Papers:


September-October 2013: 77 citations
July-August 2013: 59
May-June 2013: 80
March-April 2013: 51
January-February 2013: 73
November-December 2012: 35
September-October 2012: 27
July-August 2012: 22
May-June 2012: 5
March-April 2012: 6
January-February 2012: 6

Total citations to date: 481


SOURCE: Thomson Reuters Web of Science


See also: a 2010 ScienceWatch interview with lead author Katherine Flegal

The data and citation records included in this report are from Thomson Reuters Web of ScienceTM. Web of ScienceTM is a registered trademark of Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.