Weight

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During 2015 to 2016, 39.5% of adults were obese.

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Introduction

Consistent 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), liver, 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, liver, 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.
Note: Goals are indicated as blue line on Detailed Trend Graphs.

Data Source

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1971–2016.

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, 1971-2016
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015 to 2016)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese, 1971-2016 Healthy WeightClick to see the detailed trend graph for Healthy Weight 27.2 24.4 - 30.1
OverweightClick to see the detailed trend graph for Overweight 31.8 30.6 - 33.1
ObeseClick to see the detailed trend graph for Obese 39.5 36.3 - 42.7

Healthy Weight

By Sex
Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by sex, 1971-2016
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015 to 2016)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by sex, 1971-2016 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 27.2 24.4 - 30.1
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 23.8 21.1 - 26.5
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 30.4 26.6 - 34.2
By Race/Ethnicity
Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by race/ethnicity, 1971-2016
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015 to 2016)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by race/ethnicity, 1971-2016 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 27.2 24.4 - 30.1
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 28.5 25.7 - 31.2
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 22.8 19.6 - 26.0
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 17.3 15.0 - 19.7
By Poverty Income Level
Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by poverty status, 1971-2016
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015 to 2016)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by poverty status, 1971-2016 < 200% of the federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for < 200% of the federal poverty level 25.5 22.1 - 29.0
>= 200% of the federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for >= 200% of the federal poverty level 28.5 24.9 - 32.2
By Education Level
Percent of adults aged 25 years and older who were at a healthy weight by highest level of education obtained, 1991-2016
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015 to 2016)
Percent of adults 95% 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, 1991-2016 Less than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Less than High School 24.6 19.8 - 29.3
High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for High School 20.2 16.9 - 23.5
Greater than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Greater than High School 28.2 25.3 - 31.1

Overweight

By Sex
Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were overweight by sex, 1971-2016
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015 to 2016)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were overweight by sex, 1971-2016 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 31.8 30.6 - 33.1
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 37.2 33.8 - 40.5
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 26.9 24.9 - 28.9
By Race/Ethnicity
Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were overweight by race/ethnicity, 1971-2016
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015 to 2016)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were overweight by race/ethnicity, 1971-2016 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 31.8 30.6 - 33.1
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 32.1 30.2 - 34.1
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 28.0 25.9 - 30.2
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 35.1 31.4 - 38.7
By Poverty Income Level
Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were overweight by poverty status, 1971-2016
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015 to 2016)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were overweight by poverty status, 1971-2016 < 200% of the federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for < 200% of the federal poverty level 30.4 28.2 - 32.6
>= 200% of the federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for >= 200% of the federal poverty level 32.1 30.2 - 33.9
By Education Level
Percent of adults aged 25 years and older who were overweight by highest level of education obtained, 1991-2016
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015 to 2016)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 25 years and older who were overweight by highest level of education obtained, 1991-2016 Less than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Less than High School 34.6 30.8 - 38.4
High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for High School 35.1 30.6 - 39.5
Greater than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Greater than High School 31.2 29.3 - 33.1

Obese

By Sex
Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were obese by sex, 1971-2016
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015 to 2016)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were obese by sex, 1971-2016 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 39.5 36.3 - 42.7
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 37.9 33.4 - 42.5
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 41.0 37.9 - 44.0
By Race/Ethnicity
Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were obese by race/ethnicity, 1971-2016
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015 to 2016)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were obese by race/ethnicity, 1971-2016 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 39.5 36.3 - 42.7
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 37.9 34.3 - 41.4
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 47.9 43.6 - 52.3
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 46.7 42.5 - 51.0
Males by Race/Ethnicity
Percent of males aged 20 years and older who were obese by race/ethnicity, 1971-2016
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015 to 2016)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of males aged 20 years and older who were obese by race/ethnicity, 1971-2016 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 37.9 33.4 - 42.5
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 38.1 32.5 - 43.7
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 38.1 33.4 - 42.9
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 42.3 36.5 - 48.1
Females by Race/Ethnicity
Percent of females aged 20 years and older who were obese by race/ethnicity, 1971-2016
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015 to 2016)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of females aged 20 years and older who were obese by race/ethnicity, 1971-2016 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 41.0 37.9 - 44.0
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 37.7 34.1 - 41.3
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 55.7 51.3 - 60.0
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 50.5 46.6 - 54.4
By Poverty Income Level
Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were obese by poverty status, 1971-2016
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015 to 2016)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 20 years and older who were obese by poverty status, 1971-2016 < 200% of the federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for < 200% of the federal poverty level 42.6 38.7 - 46.4
>= 200% of the federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for >= 200% of the federal poverty level 38.0 34.5 - 41.5
By Education Level
Percent of adults aged 25 years and older who were obese by highest level of education obtained, 1991-2016
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015 to 2016)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 25 years and older who were obese by highest level of education obtained, 1991-2016 Less than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Less than High School 39.9 35.1 - 44.7
High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for High School 44.4 39.3 - 49.6
Greater than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Greater than High School 39.3 35.5 - 43.1

Evidence-based Resources

Find multiple diet/nutrition evidence-based interventions on the Research-tested intervention Programs (RTIPs) website.  Obesity data, enhanced collaboration around evidence-based practices, evidence approaches for obesity prevention and control and state plans for comprehensive cancer control are found on Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T.

Additional Information on Weight

For the public

For health professionals

Scientific reports

Statistics

Year Range

1971-2016

Recent Summary Trend Year Range

2011-2016

Summary Tables

Weight and Physical Activity

Recent Summary Trend

Rising

Desired Direction

Falling