Childhood Obesity Facts

Prevalence of Childhood Obesity in the United States

Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States, putting children and adolescents at risk for poor health. Obesity prevalence among children and adolescents is still too high.

For children and adolescents aged 2-19 years in 2017-20181:

  • The prevalence of obesity was 19.3% and affected about 14.4 million children and adolescents.
  • Obesity prevalence was 13.4% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 20.3% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 21.2% among 12- to 19-year-olds. Childhood obesity is also more common among certain populations.
  • Obesity prevalence was 25.6% among Hispanic children, 24.2% among non-Hispanic Black children, 16.1% among non-Hispanic White children, and 8.7% among non-Hispanic Asian children.

1Read CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief

Note: Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile of the CDC sex-specific BMI-for-age growth charts.

Obesity and Socioeconomic Status

[Read the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)]

  • In 2011-2014, among children and adolescents aged 2-19 years, the prevalence of obesity decreased as the head of household’s level of education increased.
  • Obesity prevalence was 18.9% among children and adolescents aged 2-19 years in the lowest income group, 19.9% among those in the middle-income group, and 10.9% among those in the highest income group.
  • Obesity prevalence was lower in the highest income group among non-Hispanic Asian boys and Hispanic boys.
  • Obesity prevalence was lower in the highest income group among non-Hispanic White girls, non-Hispanic Asian girls, and Hispanic girls. Obesity prevalence did not differ by income among non-Hispanic Black girls.

Women, Infant, Children (WIC) Data

Related Information

Data, Maps, and Trends
Use these maps and interactive database systems to find information relating to nutrition, physical activity, and obesity.
Obesity Among WIC-Enrolled Young Children
CDC works with the USDA to analyze child obesity data from the WIC Participant and Program Characteristics Report (WIC PC).