This month, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released the first-ever edition of State of Childhood Obesity: Helping All Children Grow Up Healthy, a new report that will be produced annually. The report includes the best available data on national and state childhood obesity rates, recommends policies that can help address the epidemic, and shares stories about how communities and individuals are taking action across the nation.
The national childhood obesity rate has been relatively stable in recent years, after decades of increasing. However, the rate remains historically high. Childhood obesity puts young people at greater risk for serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and asthma. Rates of childhood obesity also tend be higher in black and Latinx communities.
The new data come from the 2017 and 2018 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), along with analysis conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
- In 2017, 4.8 million children aged 10 to 17 had obesity, according to the National Survey of Children’s Health.
- The 2015-16 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found 18.5% of children aged 2 to 19 had obesity.
- In the U.S. alone, childhood obesity is estimated to cost $14 billion annually in direct health expenses.
Find the interactive data on the 50 states and Washington D.C., in addition to information on policies and programs at stateofchildhoodobesity.org.