Weight

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During 2017 to 2018, 42.4% of adults were obese.

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Background

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 2030 Target

  • Reduce the proportion of adults with obesity to 36.0 percent.

Healthy People 2030 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, 1971–2018.

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

Body Weight Comparison

Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese, 1971-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese, 1971-2018 Healthy WeightClick to see the detailed trend graph for Healthy Weight 24.9 22.4 - 27.3
OverweightClick to see the detailed trend graph for Overweight 31.2 29.1 - 33.3
ObeseClick to see the detailed trend graph for Obese 42.4 39.0 - 45.8

Healthy Weight

By Sex
Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by sex, 1971-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by sex, 1971-2018 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 24.9 22.4 - 27.3
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 21.3 18.0 - 24.6
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 28.4 25.4 - 31.4
By Race/Ethnicity
Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by race/ethnicity, 1971-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by race/ethnicity, 1971-2018 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 24.9 22.4 - 27.3
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 27.0 23.4 - 30.5
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 22.2 19.6 - 24.8
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 16.1 14.0 - 18.1
By Poverty Income Level
Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by poverty status, 1971-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by poverty status, 1971-2018 < 200% of the federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for < 200% of the federal poverty level 24.1 20.9 - 27.4
>= 200% of the federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for >= 200% of the federal poverty level 24.5 21.4 - 27.5
By Education Level
Percentage of adults aged 25 years and older who were at a healthy weight by highest level of education obtained, 1991-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of adults aged 25 years and older who were at a healthy weight by highest level of education obtained, 1991-2018 Less than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Less than High School 22.5 19.3 - 25.6
High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for High School 20.1 17.4 - 22.7
Greater than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Greater than High School 24.9 22.1 - 27.8

Overweight

By Sex
Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were overweight by sex, 1971-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were overweight by sex, 1971-2018 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 31.2 29.1 - 33.3
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 34.6 31.0 - 38.2
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 28.0 26.2 - 29.8
By Race/Ethnicity
Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were overweight by race/ethnicity, 1971-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were overweight by race/ethnicity, 1971-2018 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 31.2 29.1 - 33.3
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 29.0 25.8 - 32.3
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 26.8 23.8 - 29.9
By Poverty Income Level
Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by poverty status, 1971-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by poverty status, 1971-2018 < 200% of the federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for < 200% of the federal poverty level 29.2 26.5 - 32.0
>= 200% of the federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for >= 200% of the federal poverty level 32.4 29.4 - 35.4
By Education Level
Percentage of adults aged 25 years and older who were overweight by highest level of education obtained, 1991-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of adults aged 25 years and older who were overweight by highest level of education obtained, 1991-2018 Less than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Less than High School 33.8 28.8 - 38.9
High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for High School 29.3 26.3 - 32.4
Greater than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Greater than High School 32.7 29.8 - 35.7

Obese

By Sex
Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were obese by sex, 1971-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were obese by sex, 1971-2018 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 42.4 39.0 - 45.8
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 42.9 37.8 - 48.1
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 41.9 38.1 - 45.6
By Race/Ethnicity
Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were obese by race/ethnicity, 1971-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were obese by race/ethnicity, 1971-2018 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 42.4 39.0 - 45.8
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 42.3 37.5 - 47.0
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 49.4 46.0 - 52.7
Males by Race/Ethnicity
Percentage of males aged 20 years and older who were obese by race/ethnicity, 1971-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of males aged 20 years and older who were obese by race/ethnicity, 1971-2018 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 42.9 37.8 - 48.1
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 44.6 37.6 - 51.6
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 40.7 36.1 - 45.4
Females by Race/Ethnicity
Percentage of females aged 20 years and older who were obese by race/ethnicity, 1971-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of females aged 20 years and older who were obese by race/ethnicity, 1971-2018 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 41.9 38.1 - 45.6
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 39.9 34.5 - 45.4
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 56.5 52.4 - 60.5
By Poverty Income Level
Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by poverty status, 1971-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of adults aged 20 years and older who were at a healthy weight by poverty status, 1971-2018 < 200% of the federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for < 200% of the federal poverty level 44.3 40.4 - 48.2
>= 200% of the federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for >= 200% of the federal poverty level 42.1 38.0 - 46.2
By Education Level
Percentage of adults aged 25 years and older who were obese by highest level of education obtained, 1991-2018
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2017 to 2018)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percentage of adults aged 25 years and older who were obese by highest level of education obtained, 1991-2018 Less than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Less than High School 42.8 37.8 - 47.8
High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for High School 48.7 44.6 - 52.9
Greater than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Greater than High School 41.6 37.6 - 45.6

Evidence-based Resources

Find multiple diet/nutrition evidence-based interventions on the Evidence-Based Cancer Control Programs (EBCCP) website.

Additional Information on Weight

Year Range

1971-2018

Recent Summary Trend Year Range

2013-2018

Summary Tables

Weight and Physical Activity

Recent Summary Trend

Rising

Desired Direction

Falling