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As a major contributor to preventive death in the United States today, overweight and obesity pose a major public health challenge. Overweight and obesity are labels for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. The terms also identify ranges of weight that have been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems.

The following facts demonstrate the magnitude of the obesity problem in the United States:

  • One in every three adults is obese.[1]
  • Approximately one in six children and adolescents are obese.[2]
  • Obese children and adolescents are more likely to become obese as adults.[3][4][5]
  • More than one-third of all adults do not meet the major recommendations for aerobic physical activity based on the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.[6]
  • Approximately 75% of adults do not consume the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.[7]
  • In 2008 obesity-related medical spending cost our nation $147 billion.[8]

CPPW communities are working to address physical inactivity and poor nutrition, two modifiable risk factors for obesity.

Below are examples of community activities that focus on obesity:

  • Increase the availability of healthy food and drink in schools
  • Support the development of sidewalks and bike lanes to facilitate active transportation
  • Encourage farmers markets to accept Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefits Transfer cards, making fresh fruits and vegetables more accessible and affordable
  • Work with afterschool programs to implement minimum physical activity requirements

For more information on specific CPPW community activities, click here.

  1. Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Ogden CL, Curtin LR. Prevalence and Trends in Obesity Among US Adults, 1999-2008. JAMA. 2010;303(3):235-241. Available from:
  2. Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Curtin LR, Lamb MM, Flegal KM. Prevalence of High Body Mass Index in US Children and Adolescents, 2007-2008. JAMA. 2010;303(3):242-249. Available from:
  3. Biro FM, Wien M. Childhood obesity and adult morbidities. Am J Clin Nutr. May 2010;91(5):1499S—1505S.
  4. Whitaker RC, Wright JA, Pepe MS, Seidel KD, Dietz WH. Predicting obesity in young adulthood from childhood and parental obesity. N Engl J Med 1997;37(13):869—873.
  5. Serdula MK, Ivery D, Coates RJ, Freedman DS. Williamson DF. Byers T. Do obese children become obese adults? A review of the literature. Prev Med 1993;22:167—177.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence of self-reported physically active adults—United States, 2007. MMWR 2008;57:1297–1300. Available from:
  7. BRFSS prevalence and trends data [Internet]. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2009. Available from:
  8. Finkelstein EA, Trogdon JG, Cohen JW, Dietz W. Annual Medical Spending Attributable To Obesity: Payer-And Service-Specific Estimates. Health Affairs 2009; 5w822-w831.