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Overweight & Obesity Statistics

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Defining Overweight and Obesity

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

Fast Facts

According to 2017–2018 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

  • Nearly 1 in 3 adults (30.7%) are overweight.2
  • More than 2 in 5 adults (42.4%) have obesity.2
  • About 1 in 11 adults (9.2%) have severe obesity.2

According to 2017–2018 NHANES data

  • About 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 (16.1%) are overweight.3
  • Almost 1 in 5 children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 (19.3%) have obesity.3
  • About 1 in 16 children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 (6.1%) have severe obesity.3

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

BMI is a tool 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. BMI is related to the amount of fat in the body. A high amount of fat 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.

Adults

The table below shows BMI ranges for overweight and obesity in adults 20 and older.

BMI of Adults Ages 20 and Older
BMI Classification
18.5 to 24.9 Normal, or healthy, weight
25 to 29.9 Overweight
30+ Obesity (including severe obesity)
40+ Severe obesity

Use this online tool from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to gauge BMI for adults.

Children and Teens

A child’s body composition changes during growth from infancy into adulthood, and it differs by sex. Therefore, a young person’s weight status is calculated based on a comparison with other same-age and same-sex children or teens using CDC’s age- and sex-specific growth charts. The comparison results in a percentile placement. For example, a boy whose weight in relation to his height is greater than 75% of other same-aged boys places in the 75th percentile for BMI and is considered to be of normal or healthy weight.

Children grow at different rates at different times, so it is not always easy to tell if a child is overweight. A child’s health care professional should evaluate the child’s BMI, growth, and potential health risks due to excess body weight.

BMI for Children and Teens
Weight Status Category Percentile Range
Underweight Less than 5th percentile
Normal or healthy weight 5th percentile to less than 85th percentile
Overweight 85th to less than 95th percentile
Obesity 95th percentile or greater
Severe obesity 120% of the 95th percentile

Use this online tool from the CDC to calculate BMI and the corresponding BMI-for-age percentile based on CDC growth charts, for children and teens.

Causes and Health Consequences of Overweight and Obesity

Factors that may contribute to excess weight gain among adults and youth include genetics; types and amounts of food and drinks consumed; level of physical activity; degree of time spent on sedentary behaviors, such as watching TV, engaging with a computer, or talking and texting on the phone; sleep habits; medical conditions or medicines; and where and how people live, including their access to and ability to afford healthy foods and safe places to be active.4,5

Overweight and obesity increase the risk for many health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, joint problems, liver disease, gallstones, some types of cancer, and sleep and breathing problems, among other conditions.5,6 Learn more about the causes and health consequences of overweight and obesity.

Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity

Adults

Age-adjusted percentage of US adults with overweight, obesity, and severe obesity by sex, 2017–2018 NHANES Data2

All (Men and Women) Men Women
Overweight 30.7 34.1 27.5
Obesity (including severe obesity) 42.4 43.0 41.9
Severe obesity 9.2 6.9 11.5

As shown in the above table

  • Nearly 1 in 3 adults (30.7%) are overweight.
  • More than 1 in 3 men (34.1%) and more than 1 in 4 women (27.5%) are overweight.
  • More than 2 in 5 adults (42.4%) have obesity (including severe obesity).
  • About 1 in 11 adults (9.2%) have severe obesity.
  • The percentage of men who are overweight (34.1%) is higher than the percentage of women who are overweight (27.5%).
  • The percentage of women who have severe obesity (11.5%) is higher than the percentage of men who have severe obesity (6.9%).

Age-adjusted prevalence of obesity among adults ages 20 and over, by sex and age: United States, 2017–20187

A bar chart that shows the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity among adults ages 20 and over, by sex and age, in the United States from 2017 through 2018.<br />Among all adults ages 20 and over, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was 42.4%. Among people 20-39 years of age, the prevalence of obesity was 40%. Among people 40-59 years of age, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was 44.8%. Among people 60 years of age and older, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was 42.8%.<br />Among men, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity among all adult men 20 years of age and over was 43%. Among men 20-39 years of age, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was 40.3%. Among men 40-59 years of age, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was 46.4%. Among men 60 years of age and older, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was 42.2%.<br />Among women, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity among all adult women 20 years of age and over was 41.9%. Among women 20-39 years of age, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was 39.7%. Among women 40-59 years of age, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was 43.3%. Among women 60 years of age and older, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was 43.3%.NOTES: Estimates for adults ages 20 and over were age adjusted by the direct method to the 2000 U.S. Census population using the age groups 20–39, 40–59, and 60 and over. Crude estimates are 42.5% for total, 43.0% for men, and 42.1% for women. Access data table for Figure 1 (PDF, 97.2 KB) .
SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2017–2018.

As shown in the above bar graph

  • Among adults ages 20 and over, there are no significant differences in prevalence of obesity by sex or age group

Age-adjusted prevalence of obesity among adults ages 20 and over, by sex, race, and Hispanic origin: United States, 2017–20187

A bar chart that shows the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity among adults aged 20 and over, by sex and race and Hispanic origin, in the United States from 2017 through 2018  Among all adults ages 20 and over, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was 42.2% for non-Hispanic whites. 49.6% for non-Hispanic Blacks, 17.4% for Non-Hispanic Asians, and 44.8% for Hispanics.   Among men ages 20 and over, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was 44.7% for non-Hispanic whites,  41.1% for non-Hispanic Blacks, 17.5% for Non-Hispanic Asians, and 45.7% for Hispanics.   Among women ages 20 and over, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was 39.8% for non-Hispanic whites,  56.9% for non-Hispanic Blacks, 17.2% for Non-Hispanic Asians, and 43.7% for Hispanics.1Significantly different from all other race and Hispanic-origin groups.
2Significantly different from men for same race and Hispanic-origin group.
NOTES: Estimates were age adjusted by the direct method to the 2000 U.S. Census population using the age groups 20–39, 40–59, and 60 and over. Access data table for Figure 2 (PDF, 97.2 KB) .
SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2017–2018.

As shown in the above bar graph

  • More than 2 in 5 non-Hispanic white adults (42.2%) have obesity.
  • Nearly 1 in 2 non-Hispanic Black adults (49.6%) have obesity.
  • More than 1 in 6 non-Hispanic Asian adults (17.4%) have obesity.
  • Nearly 1 in 2 Hispanic adults (44.8%) have obesity.
  • Obesity affects more than 2 in 5 non-Hispanic white men (44.7%), more than 2 in 5 non-Hispanic Black men (41.1%), more than 1 in 6 non-Hispanic Asian men (17.5%), and more than 2 in 5 Hispanic men (45.7%).
  • Nearly 2 in 5 non-Hispanic white women (39.8%), more than half of non-Hispanic Black women (56.9%), more than 1 in 6 non-Hispanic Asian women (17.2%), and more than 2 in 5 Hispanic women (43.7%), have obesity.

Age-adjusted prevalence of severe obesity among adults ages 20 and over, by sex, age, and race and Hispanic origin: United States, 2017–20187

A bar chart that shows the age-adjusted prevalence of severe obesity among adults ages 20 and over, by sex and age, in the United States from 2017 through 2018.  The age-adjusted prevalence of severity obesity among all adults ages 20 and over was 9.2%.   The age-adjusted prevalence of severity obesity among all adult men ages 20 and over was 6.9%. The prevalence of severity obesity among all adult women ages 20 and over was 11.5%.   The age-adjusted prevalence of severity obesity was 9.7% for all adults ages 20 to 39, 11.5% for all adults ages 40 to 59, and 5.8% for all adults 60 years of age and over.  The age-adjusted prevalence of severity obesity was 9.3% for all non-Hispanic whites, 13.8% for all non-Hispanic Blacks, 2.0% for all Non-Hispanic Asians, and 7.9% for all Hispanics.1Significantly different from men.
2Significantly different from adults ages 20–39.
3Significantly different from adults ages 40–59.
4Significantly different from all other race and Hispanic-origin groups.
NOTES: Estimates for adults ages 20 and over were age adjusted by the direct method to the 2000 U.S. Census population using the age groups 20–39, 40–59, and 60 and over. Crude estimates are 9.0% for total, 6.8% for men, and 11.1% for women. Access data table for Figure 3 (PDF, 97.2 KB) .
SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2017–2018.
 As shown in the above bar graph, men and women differ in their rates of obesity and severe obesity.
  • More women (11.5%) than men (6.9%) have severe obesity.
  • Severe obesity was highest among people ages 40 to 59 (11.5%), followed by people ages 20 to 39 (9.1%) and people ages 60 and older (5.8%).
  • About 1 in 11 non-Hispanic white adults (9.3%) have severe obesity.
  • More than 1 in 8 non-Hispanic Black adults (13.8%) have severe obesity.
  • About 1 in 50 non-Hispanic Asian adults (2.0%) have severe obesity.
  • About 1 in 13 Hispanic adults (7.9%) have severe obesity.
  • Severe obesity was highest among non-Hispanic Black adults (13.8%), followed by non-Hispanic white adults (9.3%), Hispanic adults (7.9%), and non-Hispanic Asian adults (2.0%).

Youth

Prevalence of overweight, obesity, and severe obesity among children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 years: United States, 2017–2018 NHANES data3

A bar chart showing the prevalence of overweight, obesity, and severe obesity among children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 years in United States between 2017–2018. The prevalence rate was 16.1% for overweight, 19.3% for obesity, and 6.1% for severe obesity.NOTE: Excludes pregnant females. Overweight is body mass index (BMI) at or above the 85th percentile and below the 95th percentile from the sex-specific BMI-for-age 2000 CDC Growth Charts. Obesity is BMI at or above the 95th percentile. Severe obesity is BMI at or above 120% of the 95th percentile.
SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Graphic representation created by the NIDDK.
 According to the 2017–2018 NHANES data
  • Among children and adolescents ages 2 to 19, about 1 in 6 (16.1%) are overweight, more than 1 in 6 (19.3%) have obesity, and about 1 in 18 (6.1%) have severe obesity.

Prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 years: United States, 2017–2018 NHANES data3

A bar chart showing the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 years in United States between 2017–2018. The prevalence rate for obesity was 13.4% among children ages 2 to 5, 20.3% among children ages 6 to 11, 21.2% among children ages 12 to 16.NOTE: Excludes pregnant females. Overweight is body mass index (BMI) at or above the 85th percentile and below the 95th percentile from the sex-specific BMI-for-age 2000 CDC Growth Charts.
SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Graphic representation created by the NIDDK.
 According to the 2017–2018 NHANES data
  • Among children ages 2 to 5, more than 1 in 8 (13.4%) have obesity.
  • Among children and youth ages 6 to 11, more than 1 in 5 (20.3%) have obesity.
  • Among adolescents ages 12 to 19, more than 1 in 5 (21.2%) have obesity.

Prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 years, by sex and race and Hispanic origin: United States, 2017–2018 NHANES data3

A bar chart showing the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 years by sex, race, and Hispanic origin in United States between 2017–2018.   The prevalence rate for obesity was 17.4% among non-Hispanic white boys, 14.8% among non-Hispanic white girls, 19.4% among non-Hispanic Black boys, 29.1% non-Hispanic Black girls, 12.4% among non-Hispanic Asian boys, 5.1% among non-Hispanic Asian girls, 29.2% among Mexican American boys, and 24.9% among Mexican American girls.NOTE: Excludes pregnant females. Obesity is body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile from the sex-specific BMI-for-age 2000 CDC Growth Charts.
* Estimate has a confidence interval width between 5 and 30 and a relative confidence interval width greater than 130%, and it does not meet National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) standards of reliability; see Series Report 2, Number 175 (PDF, 1.6 MB) .
SOURCE: NCHS, National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 1988–1994 and 1999–2018.
Graphic representation created by the NIDDK.
 According to the 2017–2018 NHANES data
  • More than 1 in 6 non-Hispanic white boys (17.4%) have obesity and more than 1 in 7 non-Hispanic white girls (14.8%) have obesity.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 non-Hispanic Black boys (19.4%) and more than 2 in 7 non-Hispanic Black girls (29.1%) have obesity.
  • About 1 in 8 non-Hispanic Asian boys (12.4%) and about 1 in 20 non-Hispanic Asian girls (5.1%*) have obesity.
  • About 2 in 7 Hispanic boys (28.1%) and nearly 1 in 4 Hispanic girls (23.0%) have obesity.
  • More than 2 in 7 Mexican American boys (29.2%) and 1 in 4 of Mexican American girls (24.9%) have obesity.

* See asterisked note in the figure above.

Adults

Trends in age-adjusted obesity and severe obesity prevalence among adults ages 20 and over: United States, 1999–2000 through 2017–20187

A two-line graph that shows trends in age-adjusted obesity and severe obesity prevalence among adults aged 20 and over, in the United States from year cycles 1999 and 2000 through 2017 and 2018.<br />The age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was 30.5% in 1999-2000 and rose steadily to 42.4% by 2017-2018.<br />The age-adjusted prevalence of severe obesity was 4.7% in 1999-2000 and rose steadily to 9.2% by 2017-2018.1Significant linear trend.
NOTES: Estimates were age adjusted by the direct method to the 2000 U.S. Census population using the age groups 20–39, 40–59, and 60 and over. Access data table for Figure 4 (PDF, 97.2 KB) .
SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2018.
 As shown in the figure above
  • The prevalence of obesity and severe obesity increased significantly among adult men and women between 1999–2000 and 2017–2018.

Youth

Trends in obesity among children and adolescents ages 2–19 years, by age: United States, 1963–1965 through 2017–20183

A four-line graph that shows trends in obesity among children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 years in the United States between 1963-1965 and 2017-2018.<br />For all children and adolescents ages 2-19 years, the prevalence of obesity rose from about 4% in 1963-1964 to 20% in 2017-2018.<br />For children ages 2 to 5 years, the prevalence of obesity rose from about 5% in 1971-1974 to nearly 15% in 2017-2018.<br />For children ages 6 to 11 years, the prevalence of obesity rose from about 4% in 1963-1965 to about 20% in 2017-2018.<br />For children and adolescents ages 12-19 years, the prevalence of obesity rose from about 4% in 1966-1967 to over 20% in 2017-2018.NOTE: Obesity is defined as body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile from the sex-specific BMI-for-age 2000 CDC Growth Charts.
SOURCES: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Examination Surveys II (ages 6–11) and III (ages 12–17); and National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) I–III, and NHANES 1999–2000, 2001–2002, 2003–2004, 2005–2006, 2007–2008, 2009–2010, 2011–2012, 2013–2014, 2015–2016, and 2017–2018.

As shown in the above line graph

  • The prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 years roughly doubled between 1988–1994 and 2017–2018.
  • Among children ages 2 to 5, the prevalence of obesity increased between 1988–1994 and 2003–2004, decreased between 2003–2004 and 2011–2012, and then increased again.
  • Among children ages 6 to 11, the prevalence of obesity increased between 1988–1994 and 2003–2004, fluctuated over the next several years, and most recently (2013–2014 to 2017–2018) increased.
  • Among adolescents, ages 12 to 19, the prevalence of obesity has increased between 1988–1994 and 2017–2018.

References

Last Reviewed September 2021
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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 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:
Sohyun Park, Ph.D., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Cheryl D. Fryar, M.S.P.H., National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention