Obesity is common, serious and costly

  • The prevalence of obesity was 39.8% and affected about 93.3 million of U.S. adults in 2015-2016. [Read CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief PDF-603KB]
  • Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death. [Read guidelines]
  • The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical cost for people who have obesity was $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. [Read paper]

Obesity affects some groups more than others

[Read CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief [PDF-603KB]]

  • Hispanics (47.0%) and non-Hispanic blacks (46.8%) had the highest age-adjusted prevalence of obesity, followed by non-Hispanic whites (37.9%) and non-Hispanic Asians (12.7%).
  • The prevalence of obesity was 35.7% among young adults age 20–39 years, 42.8% among middle-aged adults age 40-59 years, and 41.0% among older adults age 60 and over.

Obesity and socioeconomic status

[Read the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)]

The association between obesity and income or educational level is complex and differs by sex, and race/ethnicity.

  • Overall, men and women with college degrees had lower obesity prevalence compared with those with less education.
  • By race/ethnicity, the same obesity and education pattern was seen among non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic women, and also among non-Hispanic white men, although the differences were not all statistically significant. Although the difference was not statistically significant among non-Hispanic black men, obesity prevalence increased with educational attainment. Among non-Hispanic Asian women and men and Hispanic men there were no differences in obesity prevalence by education level.
  • Among men, obesity prevalence was lower in the lowest and highest income groups compared with the middle income group. This pattern was seen among non-Hispanic white and Hispanic men. Obesity prevalence was higher in the highest income group than in the lowest income group among non-Hispanic black men.
  • Among women, obesity prevalence was lower in the highest income group than in the middle and lowest income groups. This pattern was observed among non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic Asian, and Hispanic women. Among non-Hispanic black women, there was no difference in obesity prevalence by income.

CDC: Adult Obesity Facts