Weight

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From 2013 to 2014, 37.6% of adults were obese.

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Introduction

Compelling evidence indicates that preventing excess body weight and obesity reduces the risk of several types of cancer, including colorectal, breast (among women who have gone through menopause), uterine, esophageal, renal cell (kidney), and pancreatic cancers.

Research has also identified an association between obesity and worse prognosis and outcomes among some cancer patients, particularly those with breast, prostate, and colon cancer. Excess body weight is thought to contribute to as many as one in five cancer-related deaths in the United States.

While there is still much to be learned about the link between excess weight and cancer, people who are overweight or obese are encouraged to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Doing so has the potential to reduce both cancer- and non-cancer-related morbidity.

Measure

The percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who are at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese. These weight groups are defined by a measurement called body mass index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. For most adults, experts consider a BMI within the range of 18.5 to 24.9 to be healthy, a BMI between 25 and 29.9 to be overweight, and a BMI of 30 and over to be obese.

Healthy People 2020 Target

  • Increase to 33.9 percent the proportion of adults who are at a healthy weight.
  • Reduce to 30.5 percent the proportion of adults who are obese.

Healthy People 2020 is a set of goals set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Data Source

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1971–2014.

Trends and Most Recent EstimatesHelp with navigating the graphs and data tables

Body Weight Comparison

Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese, 1971-2014
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013 to 2014)
Percent of adults Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese, 1971-2014 Healthy WeightClick to see the detailed trend graph for Healthy Weight 28.2 (26.5 - 29.8)
OverweightClick to see the detailed trend graph for Overweight 32.8 (31.4 - 34.2)
ObeseClick to see the detailed trend graph for Obese 37.6 (35.8 - 39.5)

Healthy Weight

By Sex
Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by sex, 1971-2014
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013 to 2014)
Percent of adults Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by sex, 1971-2014 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 28.2 (26.5 - 29.8)
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 24.6 (22.7 - 26.6)
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 31.5 (29.1 - 33.9)
By Race/Ethnicity
Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by race/ethnicity, 1971-2014
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013 to 2014)
Percent of adults Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by race/ethnicity, 1971-2014 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 28.2 (26.5 - 29.8)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 29.2 (27.4 - 31.0)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 22.0 (18.9 - 25.1)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 20.9 (17.7 - 24.1)
By Poverty Income Level
Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by poverty status, 1971-2014
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013 to 2014)
Percent of adults Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by poverty status, 1971-2014 <200% of federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for <200% of federal poverty level 24.7 (22.7 - 26.7)
>=200% of federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for >=200% of federal poverty level 30.3 (28.0 - 32.5)
By Education Level
Percent of adults aged 25 years and older who were at a healthy weight by highest level of education obtained, 1991-2014
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013 to 2014)
Percent of adults Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 25 years and older who were at a healthy weight by highest level of education obtained, 1991-2014 Less than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Less than High School 22.1 (19.5 - 24.8)
High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for High School 21.7 (18.7 - 24.8)
Greater than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Greater than High School 28.7 (26.7 - 30.6)

Overweight

By Sex
Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were overweight by sex, 1971-2014
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013 to 2014)
Percent of adults Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were overweight by sex, 1971-2014 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 32.8 (31.4 - 34.2)
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 39.0 (36.9 - 41.1)
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 26.8 (25.3 - 28.4)
By Race/Ethnicity
Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were overweight by race/ethnicity, 1971-2014
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013 to 2014)
Percent of adults Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were overweight by race/ethnicity, 1971-2014 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 32.8 (31.4 - 34.2)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 33.3 (31.4 - 35.2)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 28.4 (25.5 - 31.4)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 35.7 (32.0 - 39.4)
By Poverty Income Level
Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were overweight by poverty status, 1971-2014
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013 to 2014)
Percent of adults Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were overweight by poverty status, 1971-2014 <200% of federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for <200% of federal poverty level 30.6 (28.6 - 32.6)
>=200% of federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for >=200% of federal poverty level 33.7 (31.4 - 36.0)
By Education Level
Percent of adults aged 25 years and older who were overweight by highest level of education obtained, 1991-2014
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013 to 2014)
Percent of adults Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 25 years and older who were overweight by highest level of education obtained, 1991-2014 Less than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Less than High School 34.5 (31.3 - 37.8)
High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for High School 33.6 (30.2 - 36.9)
Greater than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Greater than High School 33.6 (31.4 - 35.9)

Obese

By Sex
Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were obese by sex, 1971-2014
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013 to 2014)
Percent of adults Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were obese by sex, 1971-2014 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 37.6 (35.8 - 39.5)
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 35.1 (33.1 - 37.1)
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 40.1 (37.5 - 42.8)
By Race/Ethnicity
Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were obese by race/ethnicity, 1971-2014
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013 to 2014)
Percent of adults Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were obese by race/ethnicity, 1971-2014 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 37.6 (35.8 - 39.5)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 36.3 (33.8 - 38.8)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 48.1 (44.3 - 51.9)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 42.9 (38.5 - 47.3)
Males by Race/Ethnicity
Percent of males aged 20 years and older who were obese by race/ethnicity, 1971-2014
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013 to 2014)
Percent of adults Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of males aged 20 years and older who were obese by race/ethnicity, 1971-2014 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 35.1 (33.1 - 37.1)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 34.9 (31.8 - 38.1)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 37.9 (33.0 - 42.8)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 38.2 (32.9 - 43.6)
Females by Race/Ethnicity
Percent of females aged 20 years and older who were obese by race/ethnicity, 1971-2014
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013 to 2014)
Percent of adults Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of females aged 20 years and older who were obese by race/ethnicity, 1971-2014 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 40.1 (37.5 - 42.8)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 37.7 (34.3 - 41.0)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 56.7 (53.5 - 59.8)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 46.9 (41.4 - 52.3)
By Poverty Income Level
Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were obese by poverty status, 1971-2014
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013 to 2014)
Percent of adults Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were obese by poverty status, 1971-2014 <200% of federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for <200% of federal poverty level 42.5 (40.3 - 44.8)
>=200% of federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for >=200% of federal poverty level 35.3 (32.4 - 38.2)
By Education Level
Percent of adults aged 25 years and older who were obese by highest level of education obtained, 1991-2014
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2013 to 2014)
Percent of adults Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 25 years and older who were obese by highest level of education obtained, 1991-2014 Less than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Less than High School 42.3 (38.6 - 46.0)
High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for High School 43.8 (39.6 - 47.9)
Greater than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Greater than High School 36.6 (34.4 - 38.9)

Additional Information on Weight

For the public

For health professionals

Scientific reports

Statistics

Year Range

1971-2014

Recent Summary Trend Year Range

2009-2014

Summary Tables

Weight and Physical Activity

Recent Summary Trend

Rising

Desired Direction

Falling