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By Education and Age
Obesity by Race/Ethnicity
Each year CDC releases the Adult Obesity Prevalence Maps for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and US territories. The maps show self-reported adult obesity prevalence by race, ethnicity, and location. The data comes from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an on-going state-based, telephone interview survey conducted by CDC and state health departments.
The 2018 maps show that obesity impacts some groups more than others. There are notable differences by race and ethnicity, as shown by combined data from 2016-2018:
- 2 states had an obesity prevalence of 35 percent or higher among non-Hispanic white adults.
- 9 states had an obesity prevalence of 35 percent or higher among Hispanic adults.
- 29 states and the District of Columbia had an obesity prevalence of 35 percent or higher among non-Hispanic black adults.
Notes on Language and Images:
We encourage the use of person-first language (e.g., “adults with obesity” or “20% of children ages 12-19 have obesity” and not “obese adults” nor “20% of children are obese”) when discussing topics like obesity and other chronic diseases, as well as respectful images.
The Obesity Action Coalition has more information – please see the Guidelines for Media Portrayals of Individuals Affected by Obesitypdf iconexternal icon.
- Obesity decreased by level of education. Adults without a high school degree or equivalent had the highest self-reported obesity (35.0%), followed by high school graduates (33.1%), adults with some college (33.0%) and college graduates (24.7%).
- Young adults were half as likely to have obesity as middle-aged adults. Adults aged 18-24 years had the lowest self-reported obesity (18.1%) compared to adults aged 45-54 years who had the highest prevalence (36.9%).
- All states and territories had more than 20% of adults with obesity.
- 20% to less than 25% of adults had obesity in 2 states (Colorado and Hawaii) and the District of Columbia.
- 25% to less than 30% of adults had obesity in 17 states and Guam.
- 30% to less than 35% of adults had obesity in 22 states and Puerto Rico.
- 35% or more adults had obesity in 9 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, and West Virginia).
- The South (33.6%) and the Midwest (33.1%) had the highest prevalence of obesity, followed by the Northeast (28.0%), and the West (26.9%).
Prevalence† of Self-Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults by State and Territory, BRFSS, 2018
†Prevalence estimates reflect BRFSS methodological changes started in 2011. These estimates should not be compared to prevalence estimates before 2011.
Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
*Sample size <50 or the relative standard error (dividing the standard error by the prevalence) ≥ 30%
Source of original article: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) / Public Health Professionals Gateway (tools.cdc.gov).
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