The data come from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted every two years by the National Center for Health Statistics. The survey includes interviews conducted in participants’ homes covering a wide range of health topics. The obesity rate data are based on height and weight measurements among participants, making NHANES one of the most accurate sources of obesity rate data in the country. Updated data on children and teenagers ages 2 to 19 are expected later this year.
Adult obesity rates have risen statistically significantly since 1999-2000. However, the newest data are not statistically significantly different from the 2015-16 data.
Obesity puts both children and adults at greater risk for diseases such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain forms of cancer. Preventing obesity in childhood can reduce the overall risk for these types of diseases and set young people on a healthier path for the future.