Obesity Statistics

21 Frightening Obesity Statistics for 2024

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Obesity is a very complex health issue that is a result of various behavioral, environmental, and genetic factors. For example, being physically inactive, overeating, or using certain medications can lead to excessive weight. 

Additionally, obesity statistics show that obesity is common among those who lack education, money, or guidance, which ultimately leads to an unhealthy lifestyle.

Finally, genetics definitely also plays a huge role. If parents have problems maintaining a healthy weight, odds are, their children will experience similar issues.

Still, looking at obesity stats, we can see that obesity is not just an aesthetic matter. In fact, the greatest ramification of overeating is the numerous illnesses that stem from it. Heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and some forms of cancer can all be caused by this silent killer.

That is why in this article, we will try to get to the root of this issue by presenting some of the latest statistics we could find. Let’s take a look!

Key Obesity Facts (Editor’s Choice)

  • 13% of adults are obese worldwide.
  • Globally, one in five children and adolescents weigh more than a healthy amount.
  • In 2020, childhood obesity was estimated to reach 9.1% worldwide.
  • A child with one obese parent has a 50% chance of also becoming obese. 
  • Every year, around 2.8 million people die due from being overweight and obese. 
  • Obesity is linked to 13 different kinds of cancer.
  • 30% of overweight individuals develop diabetes.

Obesity Statistics in America in 2020

1. In 12 US states, obesity prevalence is over 35%.

(State of Childhood Obesity)

When it comes to obesity in the US, more than 35% of the population in 12 states can be considered obese. In the remaining 38 states, obesity statistics in 2020 show that rates are slightly lower; unfortunately, not too significantly.

You will find most of the obese residents in the south. As such, nine out of twelve states with obesity rates higher than 35% are located in this region. This is also the region with the lowest average incomes, so we can see that poverty and obesity in the US are somewhat related. 

2. The states with less than 30% obesity prevalence are primarily in the west.

(State of Childhood Obesity)

On the other hand, those who live in the west side of the country are least likely to be obese. As a matter of fact, most of the western states have obesity rates below 30%.

Then again, annual salaries are rather high in this part of the country, especially in California, which might be why they have a lower obesity statistics in America

3. Mississippi is the state with the highest obesity rate.

(State of Childhood Obesity)

With an obesity rate of 40.8%, Mississippi is both the most obese and the most impoverished state in the USA. This is perhaps because calorie-dense foods are more affordable than healthy options.

Also, obesity and fast food statistics show that eating more fast food increases the likelihood of obesity as it contains high amounts of carbs, fats, and sugar.

4. Colorado is the state with the lowest obesity rate. 

(State of Childhood Obesity)

On the other hand, Colorado is the state that takes pride in having the lowest obesity rate in the country of 23%. Nevertheless, this number keeps on rising, which is why eliminating commercials for fast food and sugary drinks is recommended, since they are some of the main causes of obesity, especially among children.

Statistics on Childhood and Adolescent Obesity

5. More than one in five children and adolescents weigh more than the healthy amount.

(Our World in Data)

In a span of 50 years, the percentage of overweight and obese children increased from 4% to an alarming 18%. In fact, in many countries, every fourth or even every third child is overweight.

6. In 2020, childhood obesity was estimated to reach 9.1% worldwide. 


This equates to 60 million children expected to be obese by 2020. Unfortunately, statistics on childhood obesity have shown that this issue has reached epidemic levels all over the world.

Moreover, being obese could greatly influence the development of a child, as both his or her psychological and physical health can be affected. 

7. In Britain, 80% of children are overfed.


Unfortunately, some children are more likely to be obese than others. Obesity statistics in the UK has shown that around 80% of British parents tend to overfeed their children. These children tend to eat around 1,000 kcal more than they need on a daily basis, which can lead to a rather rapid weight gain.

8. A child with one obese parent is 50% more likely to become obese as well. 

(Benioff Children’s Hospital)

Interesting facts about obesity show that children tend to be influenced by their entire family’s habits. For example, the child of an obese parent has a 50% likelihood of becoming obese. Furthermore, if both parents are obese, the likelihood of the children being obese increases to 80%. 

Therefore, the genetic causes of obesity, such as a mother’s high BMI during pregnancy, could also be risk factors that could lead to a child being obese later in life. Naturally, a sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity are additional factors. 

Finally, according to researchers around the world, childhood obesity and poverty could be closely related. Based on statistics, poverty tends to lead to unhealthy food choices, which is why children coming from socio-economically marginalized families tend to exceed the weight recommended for their age.

All of these factors can cause a child to be overweight or obese and can lead to further health problems later on in life.

9. From the 1980s to 2014, the percentage of obese female adolescents in the US has increased by 11%.


According to adolescent obesity statistics, around 21% of of female adolescents in the US are obese. An increase of 11% has been noted from the 1980s when only 10% of female adolescents were obese. Early intervention is necessary to avoid medical, psychological, and reproductive health challenges. 

Facts About Obesity and Its Comorbid Conditions

10. Obesity is linked to 13 different types of cancer.


Obese individuals are at an increased risk of developing other types of illnesses, including cancer. This could ultimately contribute to the increasing death rates related to obesity

Specifically, obesity is associated with meningioma, adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, and multiple myeloma. It could also result in the appearance of malignant cells in the thyroid, kidneys, liver, breast, gallbladder, upper stomach, pancreas, colon, uterus, and ovaries.

11. 30% of people who are overweight develop diabetes.

(The Harvard Gazette)

It is one of the many obesity facts that obesity often causes hypertension or elevated blood pressure, and increased levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. 

However, one of the most common medical condition that comes with being obese is type 2 diabetes. In particular, according to obesity and diabetes statistics, roughly 30% of overweight people develop this condition, which is not an insignificant amount.

12. Obese individuals are 20% more likely to become depressed.


Unsurprisingly, there is a link between obesity and mental health. Several studies have shown that the number of patients who are both mentally ill and obese is rather disproportionate in comparison to the general public. 

For example, according to the latest available obesity and depression statistics, obese people are 20% more likely to become depressed than people who have a normal BMI.

Obesity and depression go hand in hand. However, this is just one of the many psychological effects of obesity that we should look out for.

13. Around 2.8 million people die every year as a result of being obese or overweight.


It is estimated that around 2.8 million people die each year from being obese or overweight. The most common causes of death include cardiac arrests, diabetes, different types of cancer, and so on; however, all of these are related to being obese. 

Obesity Statistics Worldwide

Obesity Statistics

14. 13% of adults worldwide are obese.


Obesity is defined as having a BMI (body mass index) equal to or larger than 30. Unfortunately, 13% of adults worldwide meet this criterion. There are numerous factors for obesity, but the most prevalent ones are probably overeating and physical inactivity.

However, obesity statistics worldwide in 2020 also show that low education and income contribute to this problem as well.

15. Nauru has the highest percentage of obese population in the world.


This microstate in Oceania has a population of only 10,671, which makes it one of the least populated countries in the world. However, when it comes to the obesity rate by country, it definitely tops the list—a staggering 71% of its residents is considered obese.

16. The obesity prevalence of 40% makes the US the most obese country in the developed world. 


Believe it or not, with a 40% obesity rate, the US ranks first among all developed countries. When it comes to the most obese countries in the world, it ranks 12th on the list. This means more than 100 million Americans are having trouble maintaining a healthy weight, which is quite a lot.

17. The countries with lowest obesity rates are mostly in Southeast Asia.


In Vietnam, only 2.1% of residents are obese, which is why this country in Southeast Asia is the last on the infamous list of obesity rate by country. Other Asian countries with low obesity rates include India (3.9%), Japan (4.5%) and South Korea (4.7%).

18. 49.6% of non-Hispanic Black adults are obese.


When it comes to the rates of obesity by race, prevalence was highest among non-Hispanic Black people (49.6%). They were followed by Hispanics (44.8%) and non-Hispanic white people (42.2%). Non-Hispanic Asians exhibited the healthiest lifestyle as their obesity rate is merely 17.4%.

19. Adults who didn’t finish high school have the highest obesity rate at 35.5%.


Individuals with a lower education level have a higher tendency to have unhealthy eating habits; fast food and obesity statistics showed precisely that. Meanwhile, college graduates appear to be least likely to become obese, with a rate of only 22%. 

20. Obesity is most prevalent among low-income women (45.2%) and middle-income men (38.5%).


Among men, those who belong in the middle class have the highest obesity prevalence (38.5%), while the high-income and low-income groups have fewer obese members (31.5% and 32.6% respectively). 

When it comes to obesity statistics among women, however, obesity prevalence is lowest among those who come from the most affluent households (29.7%). On the other hand, women in the middle-income group have an obesity rate of 42.9%, while prevalence among the low-income group is 45.2%.

21. Middle-aged adults have the highest obesity prevalence among all age groups.


When it comes to different age groups, obesity stats showed that middle-aged adults from 40 to 59 years old have the highest obesity prevalence—44.8%. The youngest adult age group, composed of those from 20 to 39 years old, has the lowest obesity prevalence—40%.


Based on obesity rates in the US and the rest of the world, we can safely assume that obesity has become an epidemic all over the world.

An increasing number of people, regardless of their age, ethnicity, or affluence, has reached an unhealthy body mass index and the ramifications of this could be huge. If we are to stop this trend, the obesity facts we have learned have got to be taken seriously.

Drastic measures need to be taken; otherwise, this silent killer will jeopardize millions of lives all over the world. 


It is estimated that around 2.8 million people die from obesity every year. To be more precise, these deaths are caused by obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke, cancer, and many more. 

When you look at how many people die from obesity, it’s quite disheartening, especially since research conducted by the CDC has shown that as many as 13 different types of cancer could be caused by being obese.

That’s why eating a healthy and balanced diet and staying on top of one’s body mass index is very important. 

Around 40% of adults suffer from obesity in America. With 40.8% of its residents being obese, Mississippi has the highest obesity prevalence among all states in the US. 

When it comes to childhood obesity statistics in America, 19.3% of those aged 2 to 19 have issues with a BMI that is too high. More often than not, the parents of these children struggle with obesity as well.

Overeating seems to be the main culprit when it comes to obesity. As a matter of fact, many people indulge in eating fast food, which is usually made with unhealthy ingredients and is often offered in large portions.

Of course, physical inactivity also contributes greatly to obesity. An increasing number of adults and children lead a sedentary lifestyle, which puts them at risk for obesity. Therefore, exercise and a healthy diet are absolutely necessary if a person is to have a normal BMI.

Middle-aged adults are the age group with the highest obesity prevalence—44.8%. Still, other age groups suffer from this problem just as much. 40% of young adults and 42.8% of adults older than 60 years old are obese as well. 

Unfortunately, obesity is a big problem for children and adolescents as well. The saddest thing is that the psychological effects of childhood obesity can last well into a person’s adult years and even throughout their lifetime.

Not only that, childhood obesity can be rather detrimental to physical health if no actions are taken to address it early on. 

13% of the entire world population can be considered obese since their BMI is equal to or greater than 30. The percentage of obese people is higher in richer countries. For example, as previously stated, 39% of adults in the US struggle with obesity. 

Conversely, countries with lower income have a fewer percentage of obese residents, which is why people from Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia are at the lowest end of the scale. 

Unfortunately, it is. From 1975 to 2016, the prevalence of obesity has nearly tripled. Still, even though this problem has been recognized, it has yet to be dealt with, seeing that the obesity epidemic continues all over the world.

This trend must be stopped—or at least slowed down—since obesity greatly influences the overall quality of a person’s life. Moreover, since obese individuals are at greater risk of developing serious illnesses, a solution for this grave problem needs to be found promptly.

The tiny country of Nauru has the highest obesity rate—а staggering 71%. In fact, 97% of the male population on this tiny island is considered to weigh more than the healthy amount. Additionally, the overweight rate among women is lower only by a hair. 

Nauru tops another list, as well; namely, it is the country with the highest rate of type 2 diabetes, as 40% of its residents struggle with this disease. Consequently, many of its citizens have gone through ampituations or are blind.

An individual is considered morbidly obese if he/she weighs 100 pounds more than their ideal weight. Furthermore, if a person’s BMI is equal to or greater than 40, it falls within the morbidly obese range. 

However, according to obesity statistics, even individuals whose BMI is equal to or greater than 35 can be considered obese. This is the case only if they are experiencing health conditions related to obesity, such as heart disease, diabetes, and so on.