What is already known about this topic?
Studies have suggested that obesity prevalence varies by income or education, although patterns might differ in high and low income countries.
What is added by this report?
Analysis of data from the 2011-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) examining the association between obesity and education and obesity and income among U.S. adults demonstrate that obesity prevalence patterns by income vary between women and men and by race/Hispanic origin. The prevalence of obesity decreased with increasing income in women (from 45.2% to 29.7%), but there was no difference in obesity prevalence between the lowest (31.5%) and highest (32.6%) income groups among men. Moreover, obesity prevalence was lower among college graduates than among persons with less education for non-Hispanic white women and men, non-Hispanic black women, and Hispanic women, but not for non-Hispanic Asian women and men or non-Hispanic black or Hispanic men. The association between obesity and income or education level is complex and differs by sex, and race/non-Hispanic origin.
What are the implications for public health practice?
NHANES will continue to be an important source of data on disparities in obesity prevalence. These data will help track the Healthy people 2020 objective of reducing obesity disparities and might inform CDC, state, or local obesity prevention programs.