Overweight high school students in the U.S. in 2016-2017, by gender and ethnicity

About a fifth of Hispanic high school students in the United States were overweight between 2016 and 2017, making it the ethnic group with the highest percentage of overweight high school students. Female obesity rates were considerably higher than those of male students for the black and Hispanic groups during the measured period.

Overweight and obese U.S. adults

U.S. overweight rates in adults differed slightly from those of U.S. high school students in 2017. That year, the African American population had the highest overweight and obesity rates of any race or ethnicity, closely followed by American Indians/Alaska Natives and Hispanics. Over 73 percent of all African American adults in the country were either overweight or obese. In 2018, the highest rates of obesity among African Americans could be found in states, such as Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee.

Overweight youth worldwide

Many children and adolescents in other countries, such as New Zealand, Greece, and Italy, also struggle with overweight and obesity. In New Zealand, for example, over forty percent of boys and girls, up to age 19, were overweight or obese in 2016. In the same year, less than ten percent of Indian children and teenagers were overweight.

Percentage of U.S. high school students who were overweight in 2016-2017, by gender and ethnicity*

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Release date

June 2018


United States

Survey time period

September 2016 to December 2017

Number of respondents

14,956 respondents

Special properties

9-12 graders

Method of interview


Supplementary notes

* Overweight includes students who were ≥85th percentile but <95th percentile for body mass index.
The survey was conducted at all regular public and private schools with students in at least one of grades 9–12 in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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Statistics on "Obesity and overweight"

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