50 Startling Obesity Statistics


Obesity occurs when someone has a BMI of 30 or more and there aren’t other physical factors, such as muscle-building, that influence the data. As a person’s weight goes up, so does their blood pressure. Their bad cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, and inflammation rates also rise. This creates a greater risk for experiencing heart disease and stroke in the future.

The development of diabetes, gallstones, gout, and osteoarthritis are all linked to obesity as well.

These obesity statistics show that the state of being overweight, especially in the developed world, could be leading to a future of chronic health problems.

Statistics for Obesity

1. 36.5% of US adults are currently obese. (CDC)

2. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was $147 billion in 2008. (CDC)

3. The average individual medical costs for someone who is obese are $1,429 higher than for someone who has a normal body mass index. (CDC)

4. Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest age adjusted rates of obesity at 48.1%. This is followed by Hispanics at 42.5%, non-Hispanic whites at 34.5%, and non-Hispanic Asians at 11.7%. (CDC)

5. Obesity is higher among middle age adults in the 40-59 age demographic at 40.2% than it is for older adults who are 60+ at 37%. (CDC)

6. Younger adults in the 20-39 age demographic in the United States have an obesity rate of 32.3%. (CDC)

7. More than 1 in 20 adults is considered to have extreme obesity. (National Health and Nutrition) For Mexican-American men and non-Hispanic black men, those with higher incomes were more likely to have obesity than those with lower incomes. (CDC)

8. High income women are less likely to have obesity when compared to lower income women. (CDC)

9. There is no significant relationship between obesity and education when looking at men at all levels of socioeconomic status. For women, however, those with college degrees are less likely to have obesity compared to women with less overall education. (CDC)

10. In the United States, zero states met the Healthy People 2010 objective of 15% population rates with obesity. 30 states were 10 or more percentage rates from the objective. (Obesity Society).

11. Louisiana has the highest rates of obesity in the United States, according to 2012 data, at 34.7%. Colorado had the lowest overall obesity rates at 20.5%. (Obesity Society)

12. Non-Hispanic black women have the highest prevalence of obesity for any race/gender group at 56.7%. (BRFSS)

13. In the United States, obesity prevalence is higher in the Midwest at 29.5% than any other region. The West has the lowest levels of obesity at 25.1%, closely followed by the Northeast at 25.3%. (BRFSS)

14. It is estimated that 93 million Americans are affected by obesity in some way over the course of any given year. (OAC)

15. Individuals who are affected by obesity are at a higher risk for impaired mobility. They may also be at a higher risk of experiencing negative social stigmas that are associated with their weight. (OAC)

16. About 112,000 deaths in the United States are directly attributed to obesity every year. (OAC)

17. In 2002, 1 in 4 people who were affected by severe obesity, or a BMI of 40+, were being treated for 6 or more obesity-related conditions. (OAC)

18. More than 9 million children in the 6-19 age demographic are affected by excess weight. (CDC)

19. A child who is affected by obesity is 70% more likely to continue struggling with excess weight as an adult compared to children who have a normal weight. (OAC)

20. Today’s children who are affected by obesity are much more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than ever before, with the odds at 1 in 3. (OAC)

21. In US minority groups, including African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans/First Nations, 1 in 4 children will be affected by obesity in any given year. (OAC)

22. More than 40% of children in the United States watch at least 2 hours of television every single day. (OAC)

23. In 1966-1970, an estimated 4.2% of children in the 6-11 age demographic were considered to be overweight. In 2003-2004, that percentage was 18.8%. (NCSL)

24. Obesity rates have more than doubles in adults and children since the 1970s. (NCHS)

25. 1 in 6 children and adolescents are obese in the United States right now. (FRAC)

26. About 15% of low-income preschoolers are considered to be obese, with obesity rates trending higher and increasing rapidly amongst African-American/Black and Hispanic children compared to Caucasian/White children. (FRAC)

27. 15.1% of White/Caucasian girls have obesity, compared to 20.7% of African-American/Black girls and 21.4% of Hispanic girls. (FRAC)

28. Approximately 22% of Hispanic boys have obesity, compared to 18.4% of African-American/Black boys and 14.3% of Caucasian/White boys. (FRAC)

29. Obesity rates are twice as high for Native American/First Nations preschoolers than they are for Caucasian/White or Asian preschoolers. (FRAC)

30. Obesity risks tend to rise amongst adult immigrants as they become more acculturated to the US diet and local health behaviors. (FRAC)

31. More than one-third of US children eat at least one fast food meal every day. (Newsweek)

32. 52% of American adults believe that doing their taxes is easier than trying to figure out a way to eat a healthier diet. (Do Something)

33. The average American consumes 1,996 pounds of food during any given year. (USDA)

34. Only 30% of Americans believe that all sources of calories play an equal role in weight gain. Most Americans believe that sugars, fats, and carbohydrates are the key sources for obesity. (Do Something)

35. The healthiness of the food choices a person makes decreases by 1.7% for every hour that passes during the day. This means breakfast is often the healthiest food choice made during the day. (Do Something)

36. More than 10 billion donuts are consumed in the United States every year, with 1 in 5 American meals being eaten in the car. (Do Something)

37. 10% of the disposable income that Americans have will be spent on fast food items over the course of any given year. (Do Something)

38. There are 160,000 fast food restaurants in the United States right now that serve an estimated 50 million people at least one meal each day. (Statistic Brain)

39. 44% of US adults say that they eat at least one fast food meal weekly. 20% of adults eat two fast food meals per week, while 6% admit to eating a minimum of 7 fast food meals. (Statistic Brain).

40. Just 28% of Americans say that they never eat fast food. (Statistic Brain)

41. The average person receives 37% of their calories, 42.6% of their daily carbohydrates, 33.6% of their daily fat, and 15.4% of their protein from a single fast food meal. (Statistic Brain)

42. In a recent survey, 12% of children and adolescents received over 40% of their calories from fast food, defined as “restaurant fast food or pizza.” (NCHS)

43. Kids in the 12-19 age demographic consumed twice the average daily percentage of calories from fast food than younger children do. (NCHS)

44. In 1970, US households spend $6 billion on fast food annually. In 2006, that amount was $142 billion. Even when accounting for inflation, that’s an increase of over $100 billion in spending over the course of a generation. (Smart Healthy Eating)

45. The most popular vegetable in the United States is the potato. The most popular fruit in the US is the tomato. This is because of the high consumption rates of French fries and pizza. (USDA)

46. 2.8 million people around the world die each year because of complications that arise because of obesity. (WHO)

47. 65% of the world’s population live in countries where having obesity or being overweight kills more people than those who are underweight. (WHO)

48. 48% of the diabetes burden, 23% of the heart disease burden, and up to 41% of certain cancer burdens are attributable to being overweight or having obesity. (WHO)

49. More than 42 million preschool children around the world were overweight in 2013. In total, there are an estimated 1.4 billion people who are overweight or obese, or about 1 in 7 people in the world today. That’s equal to the number of people who are also chronically hungry. (WHO)

50. For the average person, their obesity is usually the result of an imbalance between the number of calories they consume and the number of calories that are expended. (WHO)

Obesity is a health threat that is costing billions of dollars to treat on an annual basis. It is also an issue that isn’t as easy to treat as many might believe. More than $75 billion is spent on dieting products annually, yet the obesity rates in many states is either continuing to rise or has remained stable over the past decade, especially in lower income households.

The trends of obesity go beyond fast food or dietary habits. Until we adopt a lifestyle that is less sedentary, we will continue to struggle with obesity as a population.