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Building a Healthier Future

Special Report

From Crisis to Opportunity: Reforming Our Nation’s Policies to Help All Children Grow Up Healthy

The latest data show that roughly one in six young people in the United States has obesity. Our new report offers recommendations that can help all children grow up healthy.
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Building a Healthier Nation for the Next Generation

Explore data interactives, read stories about how communities are responding to the pandemic, and find expert insights about promising strategies for helping all kids grow up healthy.
young child in a garden holding lettuce

Stories and Expert Perspectives

Hear from experts about the impact of policies and programs in their communities, read interviews with researchers about data releases, and learn how some communities are taking action to help more children grow up healthy.

People harvesting vegetables at D-Town Farms in Detroit
Fighting for Food Justice
Malik Yakini, co-founder and executive director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, shares insights about his work to advocate for food justice and…
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Fast Facts About Childhood Obesity

16.2%

In 2019-20, 16.2% of youth ages 10 to 17 had obesity, according to the latest National Survey of Children’s Health.

22.4%

During the pandemic, the national rate of obesity among kids ages 2 to 19 increased to 22.4% in 2020, up from 19.3% in 2019.

$14B

In the U.S., childhood obesity alone is estimated to cost $14 billion annually in direct health expenses.

Interactive Data

Find the latest data from major federal surveys tracking state and national obesity rates and trends for children and teens.

Map of adult obesity rates

Adults

Adult obesity rates now exceed 35% in 16 states. Mississippi has the highest rate, 39.7%.
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National Obesity Monitor Preview

National Obesity Monitor

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is conducted every two years by the National Center for Health Statistics and funded by the Centers…
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Priority Policies

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, is the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program, helping feed more than 42 million Americans each month.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is one of the nation’s largest federal nutrition programs, serving about 7.8 million participants.

School Meals and Snacks

Many children consume up to half their daily calories at school. Nationwide nearly 30 million children participate in the National School Lunch Program and nearly 15 million participate in the School Breakfast Program. 

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Father and son shop for produce at a farmers market
Recommendations

Policy Changes to Prevent Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is driven by systemic, interconnected factors, so policy solutions must be broad and systems-based too. Some solutions will naturally focus on improving access to healthy, affordable food for all children and families. Others must go beyond those immediate factors, strengthening supports so that parents and caregivers have the resources they need to help all children grow up healthy.

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Children holding vegetables in a garden
october 2021 Report

From Crisis to Opportunity: Reforming Our Nation’s Policies to Help All Children Grow Up Healthy

This report presents the latest childhood obesity rates and trends, expert insights, relevant research, and policy recommendations from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It highlights promising strategies for for moving forward from the crisis of the pandemic and closer to a nation where every child has a fair shot to live the healthiest life possible.

Explore the Report