Roughly one in six youth have obesity, according to the newest available data. The data, from the National Survey of Children’s Health, show that in 2020-2021, 17.0% of youth ages 10 to 17 had obesity. That rate has increased slightly from 15.5% in 2018-19, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Disparities by race and ethnicity persist. In 2020-2021, non-Hispanic Asian children had the lowest obesity rate (10.1%) followed by non-Hispanic White children (13.0%). Obesity rates were significantly higher for non-Hispanic Black (22.9%), Hispanic (22.4%), and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native (20.5%) children.
There were also significant differences based on household income. In 2020-2021, obesity rates ranged from 9.2% among youth in the highest income group to 24.7% among youth in the lowest income group.
Seven states had youth obesity rates significantly higher than the national rate(17.0%): West Virginia (26.0%), Kentucky (25.5%), Louisiana (24.0%), Mississippi (23.1%), Tennessee (22.5%), Alabama (22.1%), and South Carolina (21.6%).
Eleven states had youth obesity rates significantly lower than the national rate (17.0%): Montana (10.2%), Colorado (10.8%), Wyoming (11.5%), Utah (12.0%), North Dakota (12.6%), Rhode Island (13.2%), Washington (13.3%), Idaho (13.4%), Nebraska (13.6%), Kansas (13.6%), and Oregon (14.5%).