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Change Indicator

Children and teens overweight or obese by gender in United States

Children and teens overweight or obese by gender

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Why This Indicator Matters

A healthy weight during childhood is critical for long-term wellness. Children with obesity are at increased risk for numerous physical and mental health conditions, including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, asthma, joint problems, anxiety and depression. These children also are more likely to experience social and emotional challenges such as low self-esteem and bullying. Disparities in obesity and overweight persist by race and income status as social determinants of health play a key role in these conditions.
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Definition and Source



The share of children and teens ages 10 to 17 who are overweight and obese by gender.
For this indicator, children between the 85th and 95th percentile BMI-for-age are categorized as overweight, and children at or above the 95th percentile BMI-for-age are characterized as obese. The state-level data used here come from the National Survey of Children's Health. The National Survey of Children's Health uses height and weight, as reported by the parent or most knowledgeable adult, to determine a child's Body Mass Index, or BMI, which is used to determine if a child is overweight. The BMI is age- and gender-specific.

Data Source

Child Trends analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, National Survey of Children’s Health.
The state-level data used here come from the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH). The NSCH includes information on over 102,000 children under age 18, with roughly 2,000 children per state. Households were selected through a random-digit-dial sample, and one child was randomly selected in each household. Information on each child is based on responses of the parent or guardian in the household who was most knowledgeable about the sampled child’s health. Information was collected via a computer-assisted telephone interview. For more information on the NSCH, see:

Data for the 2011-2012 NSCH was collected February 2011 through June 2012. Additionally, cell phones were contacted for the first time in 2011-2012, so trend comparisons should be made with caution.


Updated August 2013.
N.A. - Data not available.

Last Updated

August 2013