Building a Healthier Future

Explore interactives with the latest data, find expert insights about policies and programs that can help kids grow up healthy, and read stories about communities taking action to prevent obesity.

Fast Facts About Childhood Obesity


In 2017-18, 4.8 million kids ages 10 to 17 had obesity, according to the National Survey of Children’s Health.


The 2015-16 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found 18.5% of kids ages 2 to 19 had obesity.


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

Interactive Data

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that, from 2010 to 2016, the obesity rate dropped in 41 states and territories among children ages 2 to 4 participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Explore these findings and the latest trends from major surveys that track rates at the national and state level, including the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the National Survey on Children’s Health, and the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System.

National map of state by state obesity rates of children in WIC in 2016.

2-4 Year Olds

The rate of obesity declined from 15.9% in 2010 to 13.9% in 2016 among 2- to 4-year-olds enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for…
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National map of 2018 adult obesity rates by state


Mississippi and West Virginia have the highest adult obesity rates, 39.5%, according to the latest Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
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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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High School Students

14.8% of U.S. high school students have obesity and an additional 15.6% are overweight, according to the latest data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance…
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“By working together, we can build a nation that supports, sustains, and secures the well-being of all our children and their families.”

RWJF President & CEO, Dr. Richard Besser
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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.

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 approximately 36 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 6.3 million participants.

School Meals and Snacks

Many children consume up to half their daily calories at school. Nationwide more than 29 million children participate in the National School Lunch Program and nearly 15 million participate in the School Breakfast Program. 

See All Policies


Across America, communities are helping to reverse the trend of childhood obesity through changes in public policy, community environments and industry practices that support healthy eating, physical activity, and healthier choices for kids and families.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation offers specific recommendations to federal, state, and local policymakers, the food and restaurant sectors, and healthcare providers to help ensure all children are able to grow up at a healthy weight.

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full report

State of Childhood Obesity: Helping All Children Grow Up Healthy

The full report includes findings from major federal datasets measuring childhood obesity among different age groups and describes policies and programs aimed at creating healthier child-care centers, schools, and communities. It also offers recommendations for helping all children grow up at a healthy weight, especially from an early age, which is essential to preventing a wide range of health problems and saving billions in health care costs.

Download Report