One in Six 10- to 17-Year-Olds Nationwide Are Obese, 2018

This brief from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) includes new national and state-by-state obesity rates among 10- to 17-year-olds from the 2016 and 2017 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), which uses parent reports of a child’s height and weight to calculate body mass index.

Key findings:

  • The national obesity rate for youth ages 10-17 in 2016-17 was 15.8 percent, compared to 16.1 percent in 2016 alone.
  • Racial and ethnic disparities persist. Black youth had the highest rate, at 22.5 percent, followed by Hispanic youth at 20.6 percent, white youth at 12.5 percent, and Asian youth at 6.4 percent.

Experts predict that if current trends continue, more than half of today’s children will be obese by age 35. To help prevent that scenario, the report calls on policy makers to prioritize obesity prevention by, among other things, maintaining and strengthening essential nutrition supports for low-income children, families, and individuals through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; ensuring that all students engage in at least sixty minutes of physical education or activity during the school day; and supporting access for low-income families to targeted home visit and community-based programs.

Population of focus: youth in the U.S., black youth, Hispanic youth

Links to resource:

Date: 2018

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