New Adult Obesity Rate Data

According to the newest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42.4 percent of adults in the United States had obesity in 2017-18.

Disparities persist across race and ethnicity. The obesity rate was significantly higher among Black adults (49.6%) than among white, Hispanic, or Asian adults. The rate among Asian adults (17.4%) was significantly lower than for any other racial or ethnic group. There was no statistically significant difference in the obesity rate among men and women.

adult obesity rate trend

National Obesity Rate Data

The national obesity monitor has the latest national data for childhood obesity rates and adult obesity rates. Adult obesity rates have risen significantly since 1999-2000, but there was no significant difference between rates in 2015-2016 and those in 2017-2018. This interactive feature shows obesity rate trends over time, with data available by age group, race or ethnicity, and sex.

Explore obesity rates and trends

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.

Read the full research brief from the National Center for Health Statistics.

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Policy Recommendations

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation offers specific policy recommendations to help ensure more children in the United States have consistent access to healthy foods from the earliest days of life, in order to help them grow up at a healthy weight. Preventing obesity in childhood can help reduce the risk for obesity among adults as well.

Read Recommendations for Action