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About NCHS

NCHS Fact Sheet

May 2014

 

NCHS Obesity Data

 

PDF Version [230 KB]

 

About NCHS

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) is the nation’s principal health statistics agency, providing data to identify and address health issues.  NCHS compiles statistical information to help guide public health and health policy decisions.

Collaborating with other public and private health partners, NCHS employs a variety of data collection mechanisms to obtain information from multiple sources.  This process provides a broad perspective to help us understand the population’s health, influences on health, and health outcomes.

 

Overview

The prevalence of obesity in the United States continues to be an important health issue. The primary data source for monitoring national prevalence and population trends in obesity is the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).  This survey obtains measured (rather than self-reported) data on height and weight. Obesity is defined using body mass index (BMI) or weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared, although definitions are different for adults and adolescents.

Adult Obesity is associated with increased risk of a number of health conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, stroke, arthritis and certain cancers.

 

Obesity Among Adults

More than one-third of U.S. adults (34.9 percent) were obese in 2011-2012.  This includes 33.5 percent of men and 36.1 percent of women.  There was no significant change in the prevalence of obesity among all men or all women between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012.

  • The prevalence of obesity among middle aged adults aged 40-59 (39.5 percent) was higher than among younger adults aged 20-39 (30.3 percent) or older adults aged 60 and over (35.4 percent) in 2011-2012.
  • The prevalence of obesity in women aged 60 years and older increased between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012.

Figure 1 is a bar chart that shows the prevalence of obesity among adults aged 20 and over by sex and age in the United States for 2011-2012.

NOTE: Obesity defined as BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2.
Source:  National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2011-2012.

 

Obesity and Race/Hispanic Origin

The prevalence of obesity among adults by race and Hispanic origin in 2011-2012 show:

  • The prevalence of obesity among non-Hispanic Asian adults (10.8 percent) was lower than among non-Hispanic white (32.6 percent), Hispanic (42.5 percent) and non-Hispanic black (47.8 percent) adults.
  • The only difference in the prevalence of obesity by sex was found among non-Hispanic black adults: 56.6 percent of non-Hispanic black women were obese compared with 37.1 percent of non-Hispanic black men.

Figure 2 is a bar chart that shows the prevalence of obesity among adults aged 20 and over by sex and race and Hispanic origin in the U.S. for 2011-2012.

NOTE: Obesity defined as BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2.
Source:  National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2011-2012.

 

Obesity Among Children and Adolescents

In 2011-2012, 16.9 percent of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years were obese. This includes 16.7 percent of boys and 17.2 percent of girls.  There was no significant change in obesity prevalence in all youth 2-19 years of age between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012.

  • In 2011-2012, the prevalence of obesity among 2-5 year olds was lower (8.4 percent) than among children 6-11 (17.7 percent) or adolescents 12-19 years (20.5 percent).
  • The prevalence of obesity in 2 to 5 year old children decreased between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012.

Figure 3 is a bar chart that shows the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents aged 2-19 by sex and age in the U.S. for 2011-2012.

NOTE: Obesity defined as BMI ≥ 95th percentile of the CDC Growth Charts.
Source: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2011-2012.

 

Data Source:

  • National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) –– collects comprehensive information about the health and diet of people in the United States. NHANES is unique in that it combines home interviews with physical examinations and laboratory tests conducted in a Mobile Examination Center. NHANES can directly measure health conditions and provide reliable information on health and disease. (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes.htm)

 

For further information about NCHS and its programs, visit us at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs.

 

 
Contact Us:
  • National Center for Health Statistics
    3311 Toledo Rd
    Room 5419
    Hyattsville, MD 20782
  • 1 (800) 232-4636
  • Contact CDC–INFO
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