Obesity Rate in the U.S. (by State)

Obesity Rate in America – Overview

According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of obesity was 42.4% in 2017-2018, showing an increase from previous years. Obesity affects more than four out of ten adults in America, indicating the rate is over 40%. (1)

Obesity is a complex health condition that involves excessive body fat. Obesity can impact your overall health and increase the risk of developing multiple medical conditions, including type II diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer.

Some people may find it difficult to lose weight due to multiple reasons. Different genetic, environmental, and psychological factors can cause obesity. However, your diet, exercise choices, and physical activities can also impact your weight.

What is the Obesity Rate in America

If your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher, the experts can diagnose you with obesity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around four million deaths happen due to obesity every year.

Since 1980, the global obesity rate has nearly doubled. According to the prediction of the World Obesity Federation, by 2030, one in every seven men and one in every five women will have obesity.

In the United States, medical expenses for persons who are obese are typically 30% to 40% greater than those for those who are not.

According to different studies, being obese adds an extra three days per year to the average number of days missed from work due to illness or injury.

What is the Obesity Rate in Adults in America

  • The statistics show that over 42% of Americans are obese, while roughly 30.7% are overweight.
  • Overweight or obese conditions affect more than two-thirds of the overall American adults.
  • More than 44% of Americans between the age group 40 to 59 years have obesity.
  • However, according to the data, 41.5% of individuals over 60 and 39.8% of adults between the ages of 20 and 39 have obesity.

Obesity in children and adolescents in America

Around 14.7 million children and teenagers, which is over 20% of children and adolescents in the United States between the ages of 2 and 19, have obesity.

According to the CDC, “obesity prevalence among children aged 2–4 years who participated in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and other nutrition and health programs declined slightly overall, among non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, and Asians/Pacific Islanders, and in 19 of 43 states and U.S. territories“. (2)

Children who are overweight or obese have a five-fold increased risk of being overweight or obese as adults. As they grow old, their likelihood of getting a chronic medical condition also rises.

Obesity Rate in America

The obesity rate in Americans by State

The obesity rate in Americans by State

  • Around 20% of adults in all states and territories are obese.
  • In the District of Columbia, obesity affects 20% to less than 25% of individuals.
  • In 8 states, obesity affected 25% to less than 30% of people.
  • In 17 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, obesity affected 35% to less than 40% of persons.
  • In two states, Kentucky and West Virginia, 40% or more adults had obesity.
  • In 22 states and Guam, 30% to less than 35% of persons had obesity.
  • Obesity was most prevalent in the South (36.3%), followed by the Midwest (35.4%), Northeast (29.9%), and West (28.7%).

The Obesity Rate in Americans by Age and Education

Obesity in young adults was half as common as it was in middle-aged individuals. As compared to people aged 45 to 54, who had the highest prevalence, which is 39.3%, adults aged 18 to 24 had the lowest self-reported obesity rate, which was 20.7%.

The level of education can impact the rate of obesity.

  • People without a high school diploma or equivalent had the highest self-reported obesity rate, which is 37.8%
  • People with some college education have an obesity rate of 35.5%
  • Obesity rates among those with a high school diploma are 35.5%.
  • People with a college graduation degree have an obesity rate of 26.3%.

How Can Obesity Affect Your Health?

Individuals with obesity may develop multiple chronic medical conditions.

1. Stroke and other heart diseases

Obesity can increase your blood pressure and lead to abnormal cholesterol levels, which can increase the risk of developing specific heart conditions, even stroke.

2. Type II diabetes

Obesity can impact the way your body utilizes insulin to manage your body’s blood sugar level. It can increase the risk of diabetes and insulin resistance.

3. Digestive problems

Obesity can impact your digestive system and increase your risk of gallbladder disease, heartburn, and liver issues.

4. Cancer

Obesity can raise the risk of certain cancers, including the cervix, breast, uterus, endometrium, ovary, rectum, colon, liver, esophagus, pancreas, prostate, and kidney.

5. Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a severe medical condition that causes different pauses in breathing while you are asleep. Your chances of eventually developing this condition can increase if you are obese.

6. Osteoarthritis

Obesity increases the stress on your joints, which feeds the body’s inflammatory processes and leads to osteoarthritis.

7. Quality of life

Obesity can affect your quality of life and cause several psychological problems, including –

  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Disability
  • Social isolation
  • Lower work achievement


In the US, the overall rate of obesity is relatively high. Obesity can have a massive impact on your health and lead to multiple chronic medical conditions. It is essential to take different preventive measures to lead a healthy and long life.

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