Obesity Rates Among Youth Ages 10 to 17

The national obesity rate for youth ages 10-17 in 2016-17 was 15.8 percent.

New national data show that 15.8 percent of young people ages 10 to 17 nationwide, roughly one in six, have obesity. The data come from the 2016-17 National Survey of Children’s Health and are based on parent or caregiver reports of their child’s height and weight.

Full Research Brief

National and State by State Obesity Rates, Youth Ages 10-17

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Key Findings

22.5%

The obesity rate among Black youth is 22.5, compared to 20.6 percent of Hispanic youth, 12.5 percent of white youth, and 6.4 percent of Asian youth.

26.1%

The obesity rate in Mississippi was 26.1%, the highest rate of any state. Utah has the lowest, at 8.7 percent.

8

Eight states have obesity rates significantly lower than the national average: Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

State-by-State Data

The new obesity rate data for youth ages 10 to 17 are available for every state. The ten states with the highest rates are in the South or Midwest. North Dakota’s youth obesity rate dropped from 15.8% in 2016 to 12.5% in the combined 2016-17 dataset. It was the only state to see a statistically significant change. 

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About the new data
The National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) collects information on the health of children in the United States who are 0-17 years old. Parents or caregivers are asked to report their child’s height and weight, which can be used to calculate body-mass index (BMI) for children 10-17 years.

An advantage of the NSCH is that it supports both national and state-by-state estimates, so obesity rates between states can be compared. A limitation is that the survey collects parents’ report of their child’s height and weight, not direct measures.

Prior to 2016, the NSCH was significantly redesigned. Due to changes in the survey’s mode of data collection and sampling frame it is not possible to directly compare results from the 2016 or 2017 NSCH to earlier iterations. Starting in 2016, the NSCH is being conducted as an annual survey and will continue to collect new data each year going forward, so trends over time can be evaluated, with 2016 data serving as a new baseline.

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau (HRSA MCHB) funds and directs the NSCH and develops survey content in collaboration with a national technical expert panel and the U.S. Census Bureau, which then conducts the survey on behalf of HRSA MCHB. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation worked with HRSA MCHB to disseminate the latest obesity data.