Differences in the obesity rate in the U.S. can be seen between different ethnic groups, regions, genders, and ages. As of 2016, around 72 percent of all African American adults were classed as being overweight or obese, compared to 69.9 percent of Hispanics and 42 percent of Asian/Pacific Islanders. That same year, Mississippi was reported to have the highest percentage of overweight or obese adults of any U.S. state, with an incredible 71.3 percent of the population falling into these two categories.
Overweight and obesity are also increasing problems for youths in the U.S. From 2011 to 2014 it was estimated that around 20.5 percent of those aged 12 to 19 years were obese. During this time the obesity rate among Latino youths was the highest among all races and ethnicities. In 2015, the state with the highest percentage of obese high school students was Mississippi, followed closely by Tennessee and Kentucky.
Being overweight and obese can cause a number health problems and can increase the risk of a variety of diseases including diabetes and heart disease. The prevalence of diagnosed diabetes has increased steadily since the late 1990's. As of 2016, it was predicted that 9.3 percent of the population was diagnosed with diabetes. Becoming overweight or obese can be avoided through healthy eating and exercise, but such measures are largely lifestyle choices. In 2017, an estimated 23.1 percent of the U.S. population was physically inactive.