Obesity and Overweight

Adult Obesity Facts

Obesity prevalence map

Obesity Prevalence Maps
Adult obesity prevalence by state and territory using self-reported information from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Obesity is common, serious and costly

  • More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese. [Read abstract Journal of American Medicine (JAMA)External Web Site Icon]
  • Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death. [Read guidelinesExternal Web Site Icon]
  • The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. [Read summaryExternal Web Site Icon]

Obesity affects some groups more than others

[Read abstract Journal of American Medicine (JAMA)External Web Site Icon]

  • Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest age-adjusted rates of obesity (47.8%) followed by Hispanics (42.5%), non-Hispanic whites (32.6%), and non-Hispanic Asians (10.8%)
  • Obesity is higher among middle age adults, 40-59 years old (39.5%) than among younger adults, age 20-39 (30.3%) or adults over 60 or above (35.4%) adults.

Obesity and socioeconomic status

[Read CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief Adobe PDF file [PDF-1.07Mb]

  • Among non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American men, those with higher incomes are more likely to have obesity than those with low income.
  • Higher income women are less likely to have obesity than low-income women.
  • There is no significant relationship between obesity and education among men. Among women, however, there is a trend—those with college degrees are less likely to have obesity compared with less educated women.

Childhood Obesity Facts

Prevalence of Childhood Obesity in the United States, 2011-2012

Childhood obesity prevalence remains high. Overall, obesity among our nation’s young people, aged 2 to 19 years, has not changed significantly since 2003-2004 and remains at about 17 percent. However among 2-5 years old, obesity has declined based on CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data. [Read abstract Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA)External Web Site Icon]

  • Approximately 17% (or 12.7 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years had obesity.
  • The prevalence of obesity among children aged 2 to 5 years decreased significantly from 13.9% in 2003-2004 to 8.4% in 2011-2012.
  • There are significant racial and age disparities in obesity prevalence among children and adolescents. In 2011-2012, obesity prevalence was higher among Hispanics (22.4%) and non-Hispanic black youth (20.2%) than non-Hispanic white youth (14.1%). The prevalence of obesity was lower in non-Hispanic Asian youth (8.6%) than in youth who were non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black or Hispanic.
  • In 2011-2012, 8.4% of 2- to 5-year-olds had obesity compared with 17.7% of 6- to 11-year-olds and 20.5% of 12- to 19-year-olds.

Note: In children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years, obesity was defined as a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile of the sex-specific CDC BMI-for-age growth charts.

Childhood obesity is associated with adult head of household’s education level for some children

[Read the report Obesity–United States 1999–2010, in MMWR]

  • Obesity prevalence differs among racial/ethnic groups and also varies by age, sex, and adult head of household’s and education level.
  • Overall, obesity prevalence among children whose adult head of household completed college was approximately half that of those whose adult head of household did not complete high school (9% vs 19% among girls; 11% vs 21% among boys) in 1999–2010.
  • Among non-Hispanic white children, the lowest prevalence of obesity was observed among those whose adult head of household completed college; however, this was not the case for non-Hispanic black children.
  • Over time, the prevalence of obesity among girls whose adult head of household had not finished high school increased from 17% (1999–2002) to 23% (2007–2010), but decreased for girls whose adult head of household completed college from 11% (1999–2002) to 7% (2007–2010). There was not a similar finding among boys.

Childhood obesity among preschoolers is more prevalent among those from lower-income families

[View the table: The prevalence of obesity among low-income children aged 2 through 4 years, by state and income, 2011]

  • The prevalence of obesity among children aged 2–4 years from low-income households in 2011 varied by levels of income-to-poverty ratio,* which is a measure of household income.
  • Obesity prevalence was the highest among children in families with an income-to-poverty ratio of 100% or less (household income that is at or below the poverty threshold), followed by those in families with an income-to-poverty ratio of 101%–130%, and then found to be lower in children in families with an income-to-poverty ratio of 131% or larger (greater household income).
  • Obesity prevalence on the basis of family income among children from low-income households was:
    • 14.2% among children in families with an income-to-poverty ratio of less than or equal to 50%.
    • 14.5% among children in families with an income-to-poverty ratio of 51–100%.
    • 13.4% among children in families with an income-to-poverty ratio of 101–130%.
    • 12.4% among children in families with an income-to-poverty ratio of 131–150%.
    • 11.8% among children in families with an income-to-poverty ratio of 151-185%.
  • There were differences in state-level childhood obesity estimates by income-to-poverty ratio (refer to table).

* Income-to-poverty ratios reflect family income in relation to poverty threshold. The poverty level varies by family size, the number of related children, and the age of the head of household, but not by state. For example, a family of four with two children and an annual income of $22,811 were at the poverty level in 2011. For income-to-poverty ratios less than 100%, the family income is lower than the poverty threshold. When the ratio equals 100%, the income and poverty level are the same, and when the ratio is greater than 100%, the income is higher than the poverty level. A ratio of 130% indicates that family income was 30% above the poverty level.

Note: Obesity prevalence was estimated by state and income-to-poverty ratio using information from the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System (PedNSS). PedNSS contained measured heights and weights, as well as other information from low-income children aged 2–4 years. The source of the PedNSS data was from federally funded maternal and child health and nutrition programs, with data primarily collected through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

Obesity and extreme obesity rates decline among low-income preschool children

[Read Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) study highlights (PDF – 143 KB) Adobe PDF file]
[Read article Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA)External Web Site Icon]

  • Obesity and extreme obesity* among US low-income, preschool-aged children went down for the first time in recent years.
  • From 2003 through 2010, the prevalence of obesity decreased slightly from 15.21% to 14.94%. Similarly, the prevalence of extreme obesity decreased from 2.22% to 2.07%.
  • However, from 1998 through 2003, the prevalence of obesity increased from 13.05% to 15.21%, and the prevalence of extreme obesity increased from 1.75% to 2.22%.
  • Extreme obesity decreased among all racial groups except American Indians/Alaska Natives. The greatest decreases were among and Asian/Pacific Islander children and 2-year-old children.

* A child’s weight status is determined using an age- and sex-specific percentile for BMI rather than the BMI categories used for adults because children’s body composition varies by age and sex. The weight status of children is defined on the basis of the sex-specific smoothed percentile curves for BMI-for-age in the 2000 CDC growth Charts. Extreme obesity is defined as a BMI at or above the 120% of the 95th percentile for children of the same age and sex. For example, a 3-year-old boy of average height who weighs more than 44 pounds would be classified as extremely obese.

Obesity Prevalence Maps

Obesity prevalence in 2013 varies across states and territories

  • No state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%.
  • 7 states and the District of Columbia had a prevalence of obesity between 20% and <25%.
  • 23 states had a prevalence of obesity between 25% and <30%.
  • 18 states had a prevalence of obesity between 30% and <35%.
  • 2 states (Mississippi and West Virginia) had a prevalence of obesity of 35% or greater.
  • The South had the highest prevalence of obesity (30.2%), followed by the Midwest (30.1%), the Northeast (26.5%), and the West (24.9%).
  • The prevalence of obesity was 27.0% in Guam and 27.9% in Puerto Rico.+

Prevalence* of Self-Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults by State and Territory, BRFSS, 2013

Among non-Hispanic whites, 2 states (Colorado and Hawaii) and the District of Columbia had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%, 12 states had a prevalence of obesity between 20–25%, 26 states (Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) had a prevalence of obesity between 25–30%, and 10 states (Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia) had an obesity prevalence of 30% or more (with no states 35% or greater). Higher prevalence of adults with obesity were found in the Midwest (28.7%) and the South (27.5%), followed by the Northeast (25.3%), and the West (23.4%).

Source: Behavorial Risk Factor Surveillance Systems, CDC.

*Prevalence estimates reflect BRFSS methodological changes started in 2011. These estimates should not be compared to prevalence estimates before 2011.

+Guam and Puerto Rico were the only US territories with obesity data available on the 2013 BRFSS

>View Data TablePrevalence of Self-Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults by State and Territory, BRFSS, 2013

Prevalence of Self –Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults by Race/Ethnicity and State, BRFSS 2011-2013

Combining data from 2011 through 2013, non-Hispanic blacks had the highest prevalence of self-reported obesity (37.6%), followed by Hispanics (30.6%) and non-Hispanic whites (26.6%).

Prevalence of Self-Reported Obesity Among Non-Hispanic White Adults by State, BRFSS, 2011-2013  Prevalence of Self-Reported Obesity Among Non-Hispanic Black Adults by State, BRFSS, 2011-2013  Prevalence of Self-Reported Obesity Among Hispanic Adults by State, BRFSS, 2011-2013
Prevalence of Self-Reported Obesity Among Non-Hispanic White Adults by State, BRFSS, 2011-2013 Prevalence of Self-Reported Obesity Among Non-Hispanic Black Adults by State, BRFSS, 2011-2013

One thought on “Obesity and Overweight

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s