Find the latest data and trends on childhood and adult obesity from major surveys that track rates at the national and state level, including the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the National Survey of Children’s Health, the WIC Participant and Program Characteristics, and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Adult Obesity in the United States (1990-2017)
Adult obesity rates increased in Iowa, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and South Carolina between 2016 and 2017, and remained stable in the rest of states. The adult obesity rate was at or above 35% in seven states and at least 30% in 29 states. West Virginia has the highest adult obesity rate at 38.1% and Colorado has the lowest at 22.6%.
Obesity-Related Health Conditions
West Virginia has the highest rate of adult diabetes, 15.2%. Diabetes rates rose in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Jersey, and South Dakota between 2016 and 2017.
Eight of the 10 states with the highest rates of hypertension are in the South. West Virginia has the highest rate at 43.5%.
In Kentucky, 34.4% of adults were not physically active in 2017, the highest rate of any state. Nine of the ten states with the highest rates are in the South.
The State of Childhood Obesity
The federal government has several sources that track obesity rates among children and teens, including the National Health and Nutrition Evaluation Survey and three major studies that track national trends and rates within some states. Data from each of these sources is available below. This site also summarizes policies and programs that aim to help children achieve a healthy weight during early childhood, in school and in the broader community.
Obesity Data by Childhood Age Group
The 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) shows that 14.8% of U.S. high school students had obesity. An additional 15.6% of high schoolers were overweight.
Youth Ages 10 to 17
The 2016-17 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) found obesity rates for children and teens ages 10 to 17 ranged from a low of 8.7% in Utah to a high of 26.1% in Mississippi.
A nationwide study found a decline in obesity rates—from 15.9% in 2010 to 14.5% in 2014—among 2- to 4-year-olds enrolled in WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children).
State Policies to Prevent Obesity
Strong state policies play a key role in improving access to healthy food and increasing physical activity, which are essential for promoting a healthy weight. This feature tracks the status of each state’s efforts on more than 20 policies aimed at preventing obesity and supporting health.