Learn about Obesity

Obesity Statistics

Obesity StatisticsObesity is a rising epidemic in our country. Below you will find useful facts and figures, along with statistics, discussing obesity and its impact on the United States.


  • In the United States, it is estimated that 93 million Americans are affected by obesity.
  • Individuals affected by obesity are at a higher risk for impaired mobility and experience a negative social stigma commonly associated with obesity.
  • Socioeconomic status plays a significant role in obesity. Low-income minority populations tend to experience obesity at higher rate and are more likely to be overweight.
  • In 2001, the states with the top five percentages for obesity were Mississippi, West Virginia, Michigan, Kentucky and Indiana.
  • Almost 112,000 annual deaths are attributable to obesity.
  • In the United States, 40 percent of adults do not participate in any leisure-time physical activity.

Severe Obesity

  • Being affected by excess weight, obesity or severe obesity significantly increases the risk of developing many other diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis and much more.
  • Severe obesity is characterized by an individual weighing more than 100 pounds over their ideal body weight, or having a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher.
  • Behavior, genetics and environment are all contributing factors of severe obesity.
  • In 2002, 25 percent of individuals affected by severe obesity were being treated for six or more obesity-related conditions.

Childhood Obesity

  • More than 9 million adolescents (children and teens 6 to 19 years old) are affected by excess weight.
  • Children who are affected by obesity are 70 percent more likely to continue being affected by it into adulthood.
  • Children affected by childhood obesity at a young age are predisposed to obesity and severe obesity in adulthood.
  • Environmental factors, such as a lack of physical activity and technological advances have led to a more sedentary lifestyle.
  • Today, children affected by obesity are much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes more than ever.
  • African Americans, Hispanics and American Indians have been experiencing the highest rates of increase in childhood obesity. On average, 25 percent of children in these ethnic groups are affected by obesity.
  • The most occurring sign of discrimination among children affected by obesity is social and societal acceptance. This negative discrimination can lead to poor self-esteem and depression.
  • More than 40 percent of children watch 2 or more hours of television each day.

Cost and Health Insurance

  • The cost of obesity in the United States in 2000 was more than $117 billion.
  • In 2002, medical costs attributed to overweight and obesity reached an incredible $92.6 billion.
  • Many insurance companies do not cover clinical or non-clinical weight-loss programs.
  • Treating an individual affected by obesity cost $1,244 more in 2002 than treating a healthy-weight person did.
  • In 2003, Americans spent about $75 billion in weight-related medical bills.