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Overweight & Obesity Statistics

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This content describes the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States.

Defining Overweight and Obesity

A person whose weight is higher than what is considered as a normal weight adjusted for height is described as being overweight or having obesity.1

Fast Facts

According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2013–20142,3,4,5

  • More than 1 in 3 adults were considered to be overweight.
  • More than 2 in 3 adults were considered to be overweight or have obesity.
  • More than 1 in 3 adults were considered to have obesity.
  • About 1 in 13 adults were considered to have extreme obesity.
  • About 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 were considered to have obesity.

Using Body Mass Index (BMI) to Estimate Overweight and Obesity

BMI is the tool most commonly used to estimate and screen for overweight and obesity in adults and children. BMI is defined as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. For most people, BMI is related to the amount of fat in their bodies, which can raise the risk of many health problems. A health care professional can determine if a person’s health may be at risk because of his or her weight.

The tables below show BMI ranges for overweight and obesity.

Adults

BMI of Adults Ages 20 and Older
BMI Classification
18.5 to 24.9 Normal weight
25 to 29.9 Overweight
30+ Obesity (including extreme obesity)
40+ Extreme obesity

An online tool for gauging the BMIs of adults can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov

Children and Adolescents

BMI of Children and Adolescents Ages 2 to 19
BMI Classification
At or above the 85th percentile on the CDC growth charts Overweight or obesity
At or above the 95th percentile on the CDC growth charts Obesity (including extreme obesity)
At or above 120 percent of the 95th percentile on the CDC growth charts Extreme obesity

Children grow at different rates at different times, so it is not always easy to tell if a child is overweight. The CDC BMI growth charts are used to compare a child’s BMI with other children of the same sex and age. It is important that a child’s health care provider evaluates a child’s BMI, growth, and potential health risks due to excess body weight. An online tool for gauging the BMIs of children and teens can be found at: https://nccd.cdc.gov/dnpabmi/Calculator.aspx

Causes and Health Consequences of Overweight and Obesity

Factors that may contribute to weight gain among adults and youth include genes, eating habits, physical inactivity, TV, computer, phone, and other screen time, sleep habits, medical conditions or medications, and where and how people live, including their access to healthy foods and safe places to be active.1,6

Overweight and obesity are risk factors for many health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, joint problems, and gallstones, among other conditions.1,6,7

For more information on the causes and health consequences of overweight and obesity, please visit NIDDK’’s webpages on Understanding Adult Overweight and Obesity.

Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity

The data presented on prevalence are from the 2013–2014 NHANES survey of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) unless noted otherwise. NCHS is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).2,3,4,5

Adults

Estimated (Age-Adjusted) Percentage of US Adults with Overweight and Obesity by Sex,  2013–2014  NHANES Data

All (Men and Women) Men Women
Overweight or Obesity 70.2 73.7 66.9
Overweight 32.5 38.7 26.5
Obesity (including extreme obesity) 37.7 35 40.4
Extreme obesity 7.7 5.5 9.9

As shown in the above table

  • More than 2 in 3 adults (70.2 percent) were considered to be overweight or have obesity
  • About 1 in 3 adults (32.5 percent) were considered to be overweight
  • More than 1 in 3 adults (37.7 percent) were considered to have obesity
  • About 1 in 13 adults (7.7 percent) were considered to have extreme obesity
  • More than 1 in 3 (38.7 percent) of men, and about 1 in 4 (26.5 percent) of women were considered to be overweight
  • Obesity was higher in women (about 40 percent) than men (35 percent)
  • Extreme obesity was higher in women (9.9 percent) than men (5.5 percent)
  • Almost 3 in 4 men (73.7 percent) were considered to be overweight or have obesity; and about 2 in 3 women (66.9) were considered to be overweight or have obesity.
Graph showing estimated age-adjusted percentage of US adults with obesity broken out by non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, non-Hispanic Asians, and all adults.

As shown in the above bar graph

  • Among non-Hispanic white adults, more than 1 in 3 (36.4 percent) were considered to have obesity, and about 1 in 13 (7.6 percent) were considered to have extreme obesity.
  • Among non-Hispanic black adults, almost half (48.4 percent) were considered to have obesity, and about 1 in 8 (12.4 percent) were considered to have extreme obesity.
  • Among Hispanic adults, about 1 in 2 (42.6 percent) were considered to have obesity, and about 1 in 14 (7.1 percent) were considered to have extreme obesity.
  • Among non-Hispanic Asian adults, about 1 in 8 (12.6 percent) were considered to have obesity.
Graph showing estimated percentage of US youth with obesity, broken out by age: 2-19 years, 2-5 years, 6-11 years, and 12-19 years.

According to the above bar graph

  • Among children and adolescents ages 2 to 19, about 1 in 6 (17.2 percent) were considered to have obesity, about 1 in 17 (6 percent) were considered to have extreme obesity.
  • Young children ages 2 to 5 had a lower prevalence of obesity than older youth, about 1 in 11 (9.4 percent). Less than 2 percent of young children were considered to have extreme obesity.
  • Among children and youth ages 6 to 11, about 1 in 6 (17.4 percent) were considered to have obesity, and about 1 in 23 (4.3 percent) were considered to have extreme obesity.
  • Among adolescents, ages 12 to 19, about 1 in 5 (20.6 percent) were considered to have obesity, and about 1 in 11 (9.1 percent) were considered to have extreme obesity.

Estimated Percentage of US Youth with Obesity by Age Group, Sex and Race/Ethnicity,
Ages 2–19, 2011–2014 NHANES Data3

Changes over Time–Adults2,4

Figure showing trends in overweight, obesity, and extreme obesity among US men and women from 1960 to 1962 and 2013 to 2014.
  • The prevalence of obesity increased significantly among adult men and women between 1980- 2000.
  • More recently, between 2005- 2014, the prevalence of overall obesity and extreme obesity increased significantly among women, however, there were no significant increases for men.

Changes over Time–Children and Adolescents3,5

Figure showing trends in obesity among US children and adolescents from 1963 to 1965 and 2013 to 2014.
  • The prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents 2 to 19 years increased between 1988-1994 and 2003-2004. Since this time there has been no significant change in prevalence.
  • Among children ages 2 to 5, the prevalence of obesity increased between 1988-1994 and 2003-2004 and then decreased.
  • Among children ages 6 to 11, the prevalence of obesity increased between 1988-1994 and 2007-2008, and then did not change.
  • Among adolescents, ages 12 to 19, the prevalence of obesity increased between 1988-1994 and 2013-2014.

References

Clinical Trials

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research into many diseases and conditions.

What are clinical trials, and are they right for you?

Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Researchers also use clinical trials to look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses. Find out if clinical trials are right for you.

What clinical trials are open?

Clinical trials that are currently open and recruiting can be viewed at www.ClinicalTrials.gov.

Resources

Additional Reading from the NIDDK

August 2017
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This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.

The NIDDK would like to thank:
Cynthia Ogden, Ph.D., M.R.P., of the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention