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Prevalence of obesity among adults and youth : United States, 2015–2016
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    Obesity is associated with serious health risks (1). Monitoring obesity prevalence is relevant for public health programs that focus on reducing or preventing obesity. Between 2003–2004 and 2013–2014, there were no significant changes in childhood obesity prevalence, but adults showed an increasing trend (2). This report provides the most recent national estimates from 2015–2016 on obesity prevalence by sex, age, and race and Hispanic origin, and overall estimates from 1999–2000 through 2015–2016.

    Obesity is associated with serious health risks (1). Monitoring obesity prevalence is relevant for public health programs that focus on reducing

    or preventing obesity. Between 2003–2004 and 2013–2014, there were no significant changes in childhood obesity prevalence, but adults showed an increasing trend (2). This report provides the most recent national estimates from 2015–2016 on obesity prevalence by sex, age, and race and Hispanic origin, and overall estimates from 1999–2000 through 2015–2016.

    Keyword: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

    What was the prevalence of obesity in adults in 2015–2016?

    The prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults was 39.8% (crude). Overall, the prevalence among adults aged 40–59 (42.8%) was higher than among adults aged 20–39 (35.7%). No significant difference in prevalence was seen between adults aged 60 and over (41.0%) and younger age groups (Figure 1).

    Figure 1. Prevalence of obesity among adults aged 20 and over, by sex and age: United States, 2015–2016

    Key findings

    Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

    • In 2015–2016, the prevalence of obesity was 39.8% in adults and 18.5% in youth.

    • The prevalence of obesity was higher among middle-aged adults (42.8%) than among younger adults (35.7%).

    • The prevalence of obesity was higher among youth aged 6–11 years (18.4%)

    • and adolescents aged 12–19 years (20.6%) compared with children aged 2–5 years (13.9%).

    • The overall prevalence of obesity was higher among non-Hispanic black and Hispanic adults than among non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic Asian adults. The same pattern was seen among youth.

    • The observed change in prevalence between 2013–2014 and 2015–2016 was not significant among both adults and youth.

    Suggested citation: Hales CM, Carroll MD, Fryar CD, Ogden CL. Prevalence of obesity among adults and youth: United States, 2015–2016. NCHS data brief, no 288. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2017.

    CS283424

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