Obesity and Overweight - Statistics & Facts

Obesity and weight issues are well-known problems in modern societies worldwide. In the United States this problem is severe, with an extremely high prevalence of obesity and overweight people amongst both the adult and younger population. This issue is often related to the American lifestyle, in which fast food and large serving sizes are common.


Differences in the obesity rate in the U.S. can be seen between different ethnic groups, regions, genders, and ages. As of 2015, almost 73 percent of all African American adults were classed as being overweight or obese, making this ethnic group the one with the highest rate in America. That same year, West Virginia was reported to have the highest percentage of overweight or obese adults of any U.S. state, with an incredible 71.1 percent of the population falling into these two categories.

Overweight and obesity are 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 2016, an estimated 26.2 percent of the U.S. population was physically inactive.

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Obesity and overweight - Important statistics

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Infographics on the topic

Obesity and Overweight Infographic - America's Fattest States
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