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Who Is at Risk for Overweight and Obesity?

Overweight and obesity affect Americans of all ages, sexes, and racial/ethnic groups. This serious health problem has been growing over the last 30 years.


According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2009–2010, almost 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. The survey also shows differences in overweight and obesity among racial/ethnic groups.

  • In women, overweight and obesity are highest among non-Hispanic Black women (about 82 percent), compared with about 76 percent for Hispanic women and 64 percent for non-Hispanic White women.
  • In men, overweight and obesity are highest among Hispanic men (about 82 percent), compared with about 74 percent for non-Hispanic White men and about 70 percent for non-Hispanic Black men.

Children and Teens

Children also have become heavier. In the past 30 years, obesity has tripled among school-aged children and teens.

According to NHANES 2009–2010, about 1 in 6 American children ages 2–19 are obese. The survey also suggests that overweight and obesity are having a greater effect on minority groups, including Blacks and Hispanics.

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Updated: July 13, 2012