Obesity Statistics

Most Popular Obesity Statistic

According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 65% of American adults are overweight [1].   Check the study yourself!

  • 65% of adults were overweight
  • 30% were considered OBESE
  • 5% were considered extremely OBESE
  • 16% of kids were overweight

Obesity Statistics Even Worse

Since the study above was published, obesity statistics got worse, according to the CDC [2]:

  • 34% of American adults are OBESE
  • 40% of men aged 40-59 are OBESE
  • 61% of non-Hispanic black women 60 and older are OBESE

These are just some of the statistics I was amazed to read on the CDC’s site.  I don’t like it anymore than you do.

Obesity Statistics in Children

The following graph shows percentage of children who are overweight over time.  It is amazing to me how the percentage of overweight children has quadrupled in the last 30 years!  The definition of “overweight” was: “children with BMI values at or above the 95th percentile of the sex-specific BMI growth charts.” [3]


Data for this graph came from the CDC’s site [3].

Obesity Definition versus Overweight Definition

  • Overweight: BMI between 25 and 29.9
  • OBESE: BMI of 30 or higher
Weight Status
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 Normal
25.0 – 29.9 Overweight
30.0 and Above OBESE


[1]  Hedley A. A., Ogden C. L., Johnson C. L., Carroll M. D., Curtin L. R., Flegal K. M. (2004) Prevalence of overweight and obesity among US children, adolescents, and adults, 1999–2002. JAMA 291:2847–2850.

[2] Obesity Among Adults in the United States–No Statistically Significant Change Since 2003-2004. Data Brief Number 1, November 2007. 8 pp.

[3] National Health Examination Surveys II (ages 6-11) and III (ages 12-17), National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys I,II,III and 1999-2004, NCHS, CDC. (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/pubs/pubd/hestats/overweight/overwght_child_03.htm#Table%201.)