Obesity classified as a disease; what marketers need to know

With the AMA obesity news dominating headlines in June, we wanted to share some data points on the obese from Kantar Media’s 2013 MARS OTC/DTC Study. About 2 of every 3 adults have weight issues with 64% having BMI’s of 25+ (overweight or obese), according to the study. Further, about 26% of all U.S. adults are considered obese (BMI 30+).

Here are 10 additional data points about obese adults as they now represent an even more important group of prospects for healthcare and pharma marketers.

  1. Obese adults are about twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes and diabetic nerve pain/neuropathy. They’re more than 50% more likely to be professionally diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT or blood clots in legs), fibromyalgia and gout.
  2. Of these obese adults, 24% have hypertension/high blood pressure and 20% high cholesterol, making them the perfect targets for heart attacks and strokes.
  3. About 44% would rate their diet as unhealthy. However, many do recognize this as an issue with 42.5% saying they are extremely or mostly concerned regarding the healthiness of their diet.
  4. Over 2 in 5 (40.2%) obese adults have never been on a diet/nutrition program.
  5. In comparison to the four BMI classifications, the obese are the most likely not to exercise at all. They are more likely to say they find excuses not to exercise, but the presence of medical conditions is also a key factor behind their lack of activity.
  6. When looking at their media habits, obese adults are 20% more likely to read travel magazines and 18% more likely to read parent/child magazines.
  7. These adults are 30% more likely to watch music programs on TV and 27% more likely to watch a cooking program. When it comes to radio, they're 37% more likely to listen to urban, rap or hip-hop music and 33% more likely to listen to gospel or religion programs.
  8. About 39% of obese adults have not had a physical in the last year and only 41% would rate their relationship with their physician as excellent or very good.
  9. Of the obese adults who have taken an action as a result of seeing or hearing healthcare advertising in the last year, 61% said they made an appointment to see a doctor and 52% purchased a non-Rx product.
  10. Compared to the general U.S. adult population, all obese adults are 36% more likely to ask their doctor for a product sample of a prescription drug and 23% more likely to ask their doctor to prescribe a specific drug.

Using the data from this study can help agencies and marketers understand ailment sufferers, treatment and how to best reach them. For more information about accessing full study results, contact us here.

Kantar Media’s MARS OTC/DTC Study helps agencies, marketers and media make better healthcare media and marketing decisions. It ties multimedia consumption to medical ailments, pharma brands, attitudes and opinions about healthcare and many other data points. A large sample of about 20,000 respondents provides stable and reliable information across categories and brands. Gain insights into category and product usage for 500+ OTC and Rx remedies, detailed information for 70 health conditions, including treatment options and much more.

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