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New Data from the CDC on Obesity Rates


Late last week, the CDC released a new data brief: Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youth: United States, 2011-2014. Below are the key findings from the brief:

  • In 2011–2014, the prevalence of obesity was just over 36% in adults and 17% in youth.
  • The prevalence of obesity was higher in women (38.3%) than in men (34.3%). Among all youth, no difference was seen by sex.
  • The prevalence of obesity was higher among middle-aged (40.2%) and older (37.0%) adults than younger (32.3%) adults.
  • The prevalence of obesity was higher among non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic adults and youth than among non-Hispanic Asian adults and youth.
  • From 1999 through 2014, obesity prevalence increased among adults and youth. However, among youth, prevalence did not change from 2003–2004 through 2013–2014.

Leaders across the obesity prevention movement responded to the news by pointing to some promising findings in the report and encouraging advocates to continue our work until all children have access to healthy foods and safe places to play and be active.

Nancy Brown,CEO, American Heart Association:

 “As our nation is increasingly uniting to improve the health of communities, this new data provides us with both hope and grave concerns. Today’s youth are setting the new normal for healthy living, showing the world that progress is possible if we continue to devote ourselves to creating healthy, active environments for kids. The CDC data shows that trends in obesity rates among youth have stabilized and our nation’s commitment to reversing this epidemic must be sustained.

The American Heart Association strongly supports multiple approaches to ensuring all Americans are able to eat healthy and get active. That’s why we focus our efforts on educating the public on nutritious foods and physical activity, activate advocates on policy change that can increase access to healthy living, and support research that helps us better understand the most effective approaches to improving health and reducing disparities.  We applaud states and communities that are increasing access to healthy affordable foods and safe places for families to be active, schools for improving nutrition in the cafeteria, industry changes that provide healthier options and market those to children, and parents for making health a priority in their homes.”

Read the full statement here.


Howell Wechsler, EdD, MPH, Chief Executive Officer, Alliance for a Healthier Generation:

“We are excited to see that our nationwide efforts to prevent childhood obesity have stopped the decades-long increase in childhood obesity rates, but we cannot be satisfied or accept these rates. Childhood obesity rates are still too high and the rates that we currently have will lead to many millions of cases of obesity-related diseases and astronomical health care costs.

While we celebrate the progress that has been made to stop the growth of the childhood obesity epidemic, it is imperative that we double down on our efforts to go beyond flattening the rates so that we actually start decreasing childhood obesity rates.”

Read the full statement here.


Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:

“I celebrate the message in this report that obesity rates for all children have remained level and are declining among the youngest kids. It’s a sign that we are beginning to see a turn in the right direction; now we must redouble our collective efforts to make sure this trend continues. I look forward to seeing all of America’s children, no matter where they live or who they are, grow up at a healthy weight and thrive.

We will continue to address these inequities and the many barriers to growing up and living a healthy life. Nutritious, affordable foods are out of reach for too many families, young people still see far too many ads for sugar-laden snack foods and beverages, and too few of our communities provide adequate, safe and accessible spaces for kids to be active.

There are no easy solutions or quick fixes to these problems. To change policies, and lifestyles, requires a long-term commitment. That’s why the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation pledged an additional $500 million in 2015 to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity in America. We believe that getting children to a healthy weight, and keeping them there, must be a top priority if we want to permanently reverse the obesity epidemic.”

Read the full statement here.