Error processing SSI file

About Obesity

Key points

  • Obesity is a common, serious, and costly chronic disease.
  • In the United States, 1 in 5 children and 2 in 5 adults have obesity.
  • CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) helps national, state, and local partners make healthy living easier through public health strategies.
Couple with young child walking in a park on a sunny day.

Why it matters

Children with obesity are more likely to have numerous health conditions. These include high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Children with obesity are also more likely to have obesity as adults. Adults with obesity have a higher risk of developing many diseases. These include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. Obesity costs the US healthcare system almost $173 billion a year.

Obesity also affects the nation's military readiness. Only 2 in 5 young adults are weight-eligible and physically prepared for basic training.

Four young people eating healthy snacks while taking a break from playing basketball.
A healthy diet and regular physical activity help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Factors that influence obesity

  • Fewer than 1 in 10 children and adults eat the recommended daily amount of vegetables.
  • Fewer than 1 in 4 youth get enough aerobic physical activity.
  • Just 1 in 4 adults fully meet physical activity guidelines.

What CDC is doing

CDC partners with state and local groups to prevent obesity and support individuals with obesity through the following programs:

We also work with colleagues from other groups, such as academic institutions and health care organizations. These collaborations help ensure that scientific research guides public health practice in obesity prevention. The partnerships include:

We also fund and coordinate the Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration (CORD).


Two CDC priority strategies directly related to obesity prevention and treatment are to:

Additional CDC priority strategies to support obesity prevention are :


  • Obesity declined among toddlers ages 2 to 4 enrolled in WIC from nearly 16% in 2010 to about 14% in 2020. WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
  • The percentage of US adults fully meeting physical activity guidelines in their leisure time increased from 14% in 1998 to 24% in 2018.
  • Between 2014 and 2022, 47 states increased the number of high-impact obesity prevention standards included in their ECE center licensing regulations.
  • 43 states report supporting Farm to ECE activities through state or local activities.