Adult Obesity Facts
- The US obesity prevalence was 41.9% in 2017 – March 2020. (NHANES, 2021)
- From 1999 –2000 through 2017 –March 2020, US obesity prevalence increased from 30.5% to 41.9%. During the same time, the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%. (NHANES, 2021)
- Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. These are among the leading causes of preventable, premature death.
- The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was nearly $173 billion in 2019 dollars. Medical costs for adults who had obesity were $1,861 higher than medical costs for people with healthy weight.
- Non-Hispanic Black adults (49.9%) had the highest age-adjusted prevalence of obesity, followed by Hispanic adults (45.6%), non-Hispanic White adults (41.4%) and non-Hispanic Asian adults (16.1%).
- The obesity prevalence was 39.8% among adults aged 20 to 39 years, 44.3% among adults aged 40 to 59 years, and 41.5% among adults aged 60 and older.
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.
- The same obesity and education pattern occurred among non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic women, and non-Hispanic White men. However, 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. No differences in obesity prevalence by education level were noted among non-Hispanic Asian women and men and Hispanic men.
- Among men, obesity prevalence was lower in the lowest and highest income groups compared with the middle-income group. Researchers observed this pattern 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.
Page last reviewed: May 17, 2022