What is Obesity
Morbid Obesity
Childhood Obesity
Adult Obesity
Related Conditions
Obesity Stigmas
Causes of Obesity
Obesity in America
>>> Obesity Basics >>> Obesity in America  

U.S. Obesity Trends

Trends by State 1985–2008

Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater. BMI is calculated from a person's weight and height and provides a reasonable indicator of body fatness and weight categories that may lead to health problems. Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

During the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States. In 2008, only one state (Colorado) had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Thirty-two states had a prevalence equal to or greater than 25%; six of these states (Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia ) had a prevalence of obesity equal to or greater than 30%.

The animated map below shows the United States obesity prevalence from 1985 through 2008.

Percent of Obese (BMI > 30) in U.S. Adults
<previous next> play stop
Obesity map. For data, see PowerPoint or PDF linked above.

2008 State Obesity Rates
State % State % State % State %
Alabama 31.4 Illinois 26.4 Montana 23.9 Rhode Island 21.5
Alaska 26.1 Indiana 26.3 Nebraska 26.6 South Carolina 30.1
Arizona 24.8 Iowa 26.0 Nevada 25.0 South Dakota 27.5
Arkansas 28.7 Kansas 27.4 New Hampshire 24.0 Tennessee 30.6
California 23.7 Kentucky 29.8 New Jersey 22.9 Texas 28.3
Colorado 18.5 Louisiana 28.3 New Mexico 25.2 Utah 22.5
Connecticut 21.0 Maine 25.2 New York 24.4 Vermont 22.7
Delaware 27.0 Maryland 26.0 North Carolina 29.0 Virginia 25.0
Washington DC 21.8 Massachusetts 20.9 North Dakota 27.1 Washington 25.4
Florida 24.4 Michigan 28.9 Ohio 28.7 West Virginia 31.2
Georgia 27.3 Minnesota 24.3 Oklahoma 30.3 Wisconsin 25.4
Hawaii 22.6 Mississippi 32.8 Oregon 24.2 Wyoming 24.6
Idaho 24.5 Missouri 28.5 Pennsylvania 27.7    

Get the statistics on a county by county basis from each state


Obesity by Race/Ethnicity 2006-2008

New Obesity Data Shows Blacks Have the Highest Rates of Obesity

Blacks had 51 percent higher prevalence of obesity, and Hispanics had 21 percent higher obesity prevalence compared with whites.

Greater prevalences of obesity for blacks and whites were found in the South and Midwest than in the West and Northeast. Hispanics in the Northeast had lower obesity prevalence than Hispanics in the Midwest, South or West.

For this study analysis, CDC analyzed the 2006−2008 BRFSS data.

For more, see Differences in Prevalence of Obesity Among Black, White, and Hispanic Adults — United States, 2006–2008.
Also available in a PDF version (PDF-1.3Mb).

White Non-Hispanic
Obesity map. For data, see PowerPoint or PDF linked above.


Obesity map. For data, see PowerPoint or PDF linked above.

Black Non-Hispanic

Obesity map. For data, see PowerPoint or PDF linked above.

County-Specific Diabetes and Obesity Prevalence, 2007

Wide sections of the Southeast, Appalachia, and some tribal lands in the West and Northern Plains have the nation's highest rates of obesity and diabetes. In many counties in those regions, rates of diagnosed diabetes exceed 10 percent and obesity prevalence is more than 30 percent.

Eighty-one percent of counties in the Appalachian region that includes Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia have high rates of diabetes and obesity.  So do three-quarters of counties in the southern region that includes Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

The estimates, in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, are the first to provide county-level snapshots of obesity across the United States.  They also update diabetes county-level estimates released in 2008.

For more, see


Map of obesity rates by county. For data, see link above.


Map of diabetes rates by county. For data, see link above.

Obesity and Diabetes

Map of obesity and diabetes rates by county. For data, see link   above.

Related Resources

Trends in Childhood Obesity
Data from NHANES surveys (1976–1980 and 2003–2006) show that the prevalence of obesity has increased: for children aged 2–5 years, prevalence increased from 5.0% to 12.4%; for those aged 6–11 years, prevalence increased from 6.5% to 17.0%; and for those aged 12–19 years, prevalence increased from 5.0% to 17.6%

Obesity Prevalence Among Low-Income, Preschool-Aged Children 1998–2008
One of 7 low-income, preschool-aged children is obese, but the obesity epidemic may be stabilizing.