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Breaking News: Just-Released Report Finds that Nearly 20% of U.S. Kids Have Obesity

In its first annual State of Childhood Obesity report, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that 18.5% of kids in the U.S. have obesity. Keep reading to learn more about how we can work together to address this epidemic.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation just released the first annual State of Childhood Obesity: Helping All Children Grow Up Healthy. The report includes the best available data on national and state childhood obesity rates, recommended policies to help address the epidemic, and stories of communities and individuals taking action across the nation.

By the numbers: A few takeaways

  • 4.8 million: In 2017-18, 4.8 million kids ages 10 to 17 had obesity, according to the National Survey of Children’s Health.
  • 18.5%: The 2015-16 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found 18.5% of kids ages 2 to 19 had obesity.
  • $14 billion: In the U.S., childhood obesity alone is estimated to cost $14 billion annually in direct health expenses.

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. 

Included in the report are:

  • Interactive data and maps
  • Expert perspectives on the issue
  • Stories about the issue
  • Priority policies which include information on SNAP, WIC and school meals
  • Recommendations

You can find the full release at