Data and Statistics
Obesity and extreme obesity rates decline among low-income preschool children
(Data from the Journal of the American Medical Association)
- Obesity and extreme obesity among U.S. low-income, preschool-aged children went down for the first time in recent years, according to CDC’s first national study.1
- From 2003 through 2010, the prevalence of obesity decreased slightly from 15.21% to 14.94%. Similarly, the prevalence of extreme obesity decreased from 2.22% to 2.07%.1
- However, from 1998 through 2003, the prevalence of obesity increased from 13.05% to 15.21%, and the prevalence of extreme obesity increased from 1.75% to 2.22%.1
- Extreme obesity significantly decreased among all racial groups except American Indians/Alaska Natives. The greatest decrease was among 2-year old and Asian/Pacific Islander children.1
*The data for this study is from the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System (PedNSS), which includes almost 50% of preschool children eligible for federally funded maternal and child health and nutrition programs, primarily the WIC Program. The study population included 27.5 million children aged 2 through 4 years from 30 states and the District of Columbia that consistently reported data to PedNSS from 1998 -2010.
Obesity rates among all children in the United States
(Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey)
- Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese.
- Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled.
- There are significant racial and ethnic disparities in obesity prevalence among U.S. children and adolescents. In 2007—2008, Hispanic boys, aged 2 to 19 years,were significantly more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white boys, and non-Hispanic black girls were significantly more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white girls.
Obesity rates among low-income preschool children
(Data are from the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System, which CDC discontinued in 2012; see www.cdc.gov/pednss.)
- 1 of 7 low-income, preschool-aged children is obese. [Check out this Fact Sheet to learn more (PDF-1.5Mb)]
- County obesity rates are variable within states. Even states with the lowest prevalence of obesity have counties where many low-income children are obese and at risk for chronic disease.
2011 State Prevalence Among Low-Income Children Aged 2 to 4 Years
2009—2011 County Obesity Prevalence Among Low-Income Children
Aged 2 to 4 Years
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trends in the Prevalence of Extreme Obesity Among US Preschool-Aged Children Living in Low-Income Families, 1998-2010. JAMA. 2012; 308 (24): 2563-2565