Change Indicator

Children and teens overweight or obese by gender in United States

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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 approximately 50,000 children under age 18, with representative samples for each state. For more information on the NSCH, see


S - Estimates suppressed when the 95% confidence interval is greater than 20 percentage points or 1.2 times the estimate.
N.A. – Data not available.
Percentages exclude missing data. Weighted percentages were applied to the estimates of those missing to derive overall estimates for the number of children.

Last Updated

May 2023