July 25, 2024

Many U.S. adults have obesity

The prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults was 41.9% during 2017–March 2020. During the same time, the prevalence of severe obesity among U.S. adults was 9.2%.

The prevalence of obesity increased from 30.5% in 1999-20001 to 41.9% in 2017–March 2020. During the same time, the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%.

Note: Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher. Severe obesity is defined as having a BMI of 40.0 or higher.

Obesity Prevalence Maps‎

Obesity affects some groups more than others

In 2017–March 2020, non-Hispanic Black adults had the highest obesity prevalence (49.9%) followed by Hispanic (45.6%), non-Hispanic White (41.4%), and non-Hispanic Asian (16.1%) adults.2

In 2017–March 2020, obesity prevalence was highest among U.S. adults with a high school diploma or some college education (46.4%) followed by those with less than a high school diploma (40.1%) and those with a college degree or above (34.2%).2

In 2017–March 2020, differences by age group were not statistically significant. Obesity prevalence was 39.8% among U.S. adults aged 20–39 years, 44.3% among adults aged 40–59 years, and 41.5% among adults aged 60 years and older..2

Obesity is serious and expensive

Many adults with obesity have other serious chronic diseases. For example, 58% of U.S. adults with obesity have high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease. Also, approximately 23% of U.S. adults with obesity have diabetes.2

Health care for obesity is expensive for patients and the health care system. In 2019 dollars, annual medical costs for adults with obesity were $1,861 higher per person than adults with healthy weight. For adults with severe obesity, the excess costs were $3,097 per person. This accounts for nearly $173 billion in medical expenditures in 2019 dollars.3

Related information

Risk Factors for Obesity

Determinants of health, health behaviors, and other factors that are associated with obesity.

About BMI

What body mass index is, how it is used, and how it is interpreted.

Adult BMI Calculator

Calculate BMI and the corresponding BMI category for adults 20 years and older.

Child Obesity Facts

Information about obesity among children in the U.S.

Health Equity Resources

Tools to help remove barriers to health and achieve health equity.


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