"American adults just keep getting fatter," proclaimed the New York Times headline on March 23rd. "New data shows that nearly 40 percent of them were obese in 2015 and 2016, a sharp increase from a decade earlier, federal health officials reported Friday." True, but that's not the whole story.

It's troubling that almost 40 percent of adults are obese. But most media reports neglected to mention that the rest of us aren't exactly trim.

If you add the roughly 30 percent of adults who are overweight, now you're talking 70 percent of Americans who are carrying around extra pounds.

Granted, it's obesity—not overweight—that has soared since around 1980. And yes, being obese puts you at greater risk of disease than being overweight. But being overweight is far from harmless.

The biggest danger: type 2 diabetes. The risk doubles even in the upper half of the normal weight range.

Likewise, being overweight (or obese) increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and gallstones, plus more than a dozen cancers—including colon, breast (after menopause), esophagus, gallbladder, pancreas, uterus, ovaries, kidney, and liver.

Overweight or obese

Roughly 70 percent of adults and 33 percent of children & teens are now overweight or obese.

Notes: The normal-weight slice includes underweight (1% of adults and 4% of children). Data are for 2013-14 because overweight prevalence data for 2015-16 are not yet available.

Sources: cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/obesity_adult_13_14/obesity_adult_13_14.pdf and cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/obesity_child_13_14/obesity_child_13_14.htm.

10-year risk of disease

Compared to women at the lean end of the normal weight range, overweight women have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, gallstones, high blood pressure, and heart disease, according to findings from the Nurses' Health Study.

Type 2 diabetes is the greatest threat. The 10-year risk is 8 times higher for overweight women, 18 times higher for obese women (a BMI of 30 to 34.9), and 30 times higher for the most obese women (a BMI of 35 & above). (Those numbers didn't even fit on our graph.) Results in men are similar.

Source: Arch. Intern. Med. 161: 1581, 2001.

Diabetes or prediabetes

Roughly 46% of adults now have prediabetes or diabetes (mostly type 2). Of those with diabetes, 26% are overweight and 61% are obese.

Source: cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics/statistics-report.html.