Current Asthma Prevalence by Weight Status Among Adults: United States, 2001–2014

March 16, 2016

Asthma is a common chronic airway disorder characterized by periods of airflow obstruction known as asthma attacks. Symptom frequency can range from intermittent to constant, and attack severity can vary from mild to life threatening.

Several studies have shown that among adults, obesity is associated with an increased risk of asthma diagnosis, more frequent asthma-related health care use, and greater symptom or severity burden.

In a new NCHS report, current asthma prevalence is examined by weight status among U.S. adults aged 20 and over.


  • In 2011–2014, current asthma prevalence was 8.8% among adults. It was higher among adults with obesity (11.1%) compared with adults in normal weight (7.1%) and overweight (7.8%) categories.
  • Women with obesity had higher current asthma prevalence (14.6%) than those in normal weight (7.9%) and overweight (9.1%) categories. Current asthma prevalence did not differ significantly by weight status for men.
  • Current asthma prevalence was highest among adults with obesity for all race and Hispanic origin groups and age groups.
  • Overall current asthma prevalence among adults increased from 2001–2002 (7.1%) to 2013–2014 (9.2%). By weight status, prevalence increased among overweight adults but not among adults in the obese or normal weight categories.


Characteristics of Physician Office Visits for Obesity by Adults Aged 20 and Over: United States, 2012

March 3, 2016

Obesity, a complex and costly condition, affects more than one-third of adults in the United States. It raises the risk of morbidity from chronic diseases and is a major cause of preventable death.

A new NCHS report examines health care visits for obesity by adults aged 20 and over in 2012. A visit for obesity is one where the provider listed obesity as one of the diagnoses for the visit. National estimates on the assessment of risk factors and the provision of health-education services at these visits are presented.

The main implication of these findings relates to the provision of weight-related health-education services at visits for obesity. While this type of education was offered relatively  more often at visits for obesity, it was offered at less than one-half of those visits.

This finding can inform efforts in health care settings related to providing diet and nutrition, exercise, and weight-reduction health- education services, especially when obesity is a listed diagnosis.


  • In 2012, 11 million visits, or an annual visit rate of 49 visits per 1,000 persons, to physician offices for obesity were made by adults aged 20 and over.
  • Annual visit rates for obesity varied by age and sex.
    Additional chronic conditions were listed more frequently at visits for obesity than at visits for other diagnoses.
  • Visits for obesity were 25% more likely to include assessments of height and weight and of blood pressure, and more than 50% more likely to include testing of blood glucose and lipids, compared with visits for other diagnoses.

Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youth: United States, 2011–2014

November 17, 2015

Obesity is associated with health risks. Monitoring the prevalence of obesity is relevant for public health programs that focus on reducing or preventing obesity.

No significant changes were seen in either adult or childhood obesity prevalence in the United States between 2003–2004 and 2011–2012.

An NCHS report provides the most recent national data on obesity prevalence by sex, age, and race and Hispanic origin, using data for 2011–2014. Overall prevalence estimates from 1999–2000 through 2013–2014 are also presented.

Key Findings:

  • 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.


Prevalence of Obesity Among Children and Adolescents in the United States and Canada

August 27, 2015

About one-quarter of Canadian adults and more than one-third of adults in the United States are obese. Obese children are at risk of becoming obese adults and can experience immediate health consequences such as psychosocial stress, elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, and abnormal glucose tolerance. Monitoring trends in childhood obesity is important in order to assess interventions aimed at reducing the burden of obesity.

A new NCHS report looks at the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents in the United States and Canada.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • In the late 1970s, the prevalence of childhood obesity was the same in Canada and the United States, but recently the prevalence is 4.5 percentage points higher in the United States than in Canada.
  • No change has been seen over the last decade in the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents in Canada or the United States.
  • The prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents aged 3–19 in Canada was lower (13.0%) than in the United States (17.5%) in recent years.
  • There was no difference between Canada and the United States in the prevalence of obesity among children aged 3–6 years.
  • In the non-Hispanic white population, the prevalence of obesity among girls was lower in Canada than in the United States, but there was no difference between the two countries among boys.

Perception of Weight Status in U.S. Children and Adolescents Aged 8–15 Years, 2005–2012

July 29, 2014

Childhood obesity is a major public health problem associated with many adverse health outcomes in adulthood. During 2011–2012, nearly 17% of children and adolescents were obese. Weight status misperception occurs when the child’s perception of their weight status differs from their actual weight status based on measured height and weight. Accurate weight status self-perception has been linked to appropriate weight control behaviors in youth.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data for children and adolescents aged 8–15 years offers an opportunity to examine weight perception status in this age group.

Key Findings from the Report:


  • About 30% of children and adolescents aged 8–15 years in the United States misperceive their weight status. Weight status misperception is more common among boys (32.3%) than girls (28.0%).
  • About one-third of Mexican-American (34.0%) and non-Hispanic black (34.4%) children and adolescents misperceive their weight status compared with non-Hispanic white children and adolescents (27.7%).
  • Approximately 81% of overweight boys and 71% of overweight girls believe they are about the right weight.
  • Nearly 48% of obese boys and 36% of obese girls consider themselves to be about the right weight.


Obesity Prevalence Among U.S. Adults Level Off

October 18, 2013

NCHS has put out a report that presents national estimates of obesity among adults in the United States in 2011–2012, based on measured weight and height.


The health risks associated with obesity make reducing the high prevalence of obesity a public health priority. Previous publications have shown both racial and ethnic disparities in obesity prevalence and no change in the prevalence of obesity among adults since 2003–2004.

This report shows national obesity prevalence estimates for non-Hispanic Asian persons are possible for the first time, using newly available data.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • More than one-third (34.9%) of adults were obese in 2011–2012.
  • In 2011–2012, the prevalence of obesity was higher among middle-aged adults (39.5%) than among younger (30.3%) or older (35.4%) adults.
  • The overall prevalence of obesity did not differ between men and women in 2011–2012. Among non-Hispanic black adults, however, 56.6% of women were obese compared with 37.1% of men.
  • In 2011–2012, the prevalence of obesity was higher among non-Hispanic black (47.8%), Hispanic (42.5%), and non-Hispanic white (32.6%) adults than among non-Hispanic Asian adults (10.8%).
  • The prevalence of obesity among adults did not change between 2009–2010 and 2011–2012.

Obesity – Americans still growing, but not as fast

January 14, 2010

New data in the latest Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) from NCHS statisticians show that the increasing rate of obesity may be slowing, although the prevalence of adults who are obese is still high. The numbers from 2007-2008 show that 33.8% of U.S. adults are obese (32.2% for men, 35.5% for women). The growth of the obesity rate in the U.S. over the past 40 years is depicted below.

Obesity by age, United States, 1971-1974 through 2005-2006:

For the data table, visit and see Trend Table 75.