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Indicator Details — Children and Adolescents: Percentage of Children and Adolescents Who are Overweight or Obesea
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a Overweight, 85th to <95th percentile for age, gender, and height; obese, ≥95th percentile for age, gender, and height.

Among U.S. residents aged 2-19 years, around 35% were either overweight or had obesity in 2015 to 2016. Of these, 17% being were overweight (BMI ≥ 85th to 95th percentile for age, gender, and height) and 18% had obesity (BMI ≥ 95th percentile).

Older children and adolescents were far more likely to be either overweight or have obesity than younger children (41% in age 15-19 years vs. 25% in age 2-4 years). Mexican-American children had the highest prevalence of being overweight or having obesity (49%) when compared to their non-Hispanic black (38%) and non-Hispanic white counterparts (30%).
Chart Explanation: During 2015-2016, the prevalence of overweight (BMI ≥ 85th to 95th percentile) and obesity (BMI ≥ 95th percentile for age, gender, and height) in children and adolescents continued to be highest in the oldest age group, with 20.1% being overweight in 20.1% and 20.8% having obesity in those aged 15-19 years (12.1% and 13.3% in age 2-5 years). Males and females had similar prevalences for both overweight (15.6% in males vs. 17.6% in females) and having obesity (19.0% vs. 17.8%). Prevalence of overweight or obesity was highest in Mexica-American children and adolescents (48.4%), when compared to non-Hispanic blacks (37.7%) and non-Hispanic whites (29.8%).

Prevalence gradually increased over the previous 18 years from 28.1% in 1999-2000 to 35.1% in 2015-2016 (p=.002). Specifically, for 2015-2016, 18.4% of children and adolescents had obesity, and 16.6% were overweight. Children who are overweight or obese are at higher risk than normal-weight children of adult obesity and many related health problems, including CKD risk factors diabetes and hypertension and, possibly, CKD itself.
The NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) is a nationally representative, cross-sectional survey that is currently conducted every 2 years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics to examine disease prevalence and trends over time in noninstitutionalized U.S. civilian residents.

The survey consists of a standardized in-home interview and a physical examination at a mobile examination center (MEC). Here we examined data from the 1999-2000, 2001-2002, 2003-2004, 2005-2006, 2007-2008, 2009-2010, 2011-2012, 2013-2014, and 2015-2016 NHANES surveys. Height (either recumbent or standing) and weight were measured in NHANES participants aged 2 years and older using standardized protocols. BMI percentiles based on age, gender, and height were calculated for each participant (http://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/), and overweight and obesity were defined by body mass index (BMI) within the 85th-95th percentile and ≥95th percentile, respectively.
Description of MeasurePrevalence of overweight and obesity in the general population aged <20 years
Data SourceNCHS
Type of Data SourcePublic
Health Care System DataNo
Regional or National?National
Demographic GroupNon-institutionalized U.S. residents aged 2-19 years
NumeratorParticipants 2-19 with calculated BMI percentile ≥85-95 [overweight] or ≥95 [obese]
DenominatorParticipants 2-19 with estimated BMI percentile
Primary Data Source Indicatorbmxht/bmxwt: measured height and weight
Primary Indicator Method of MeasurementMEC exam anthropometric protocol; ages 2+
Frequency of Measurement (Primary)Once (cross-sectional)
U.S. Region Covered by Primary VariableAll
Period Currently Available1999–2016
Pending Data2017-2018
Additional Data Items of InterestPercentile estimation variables of interest (age, gender, recumbent indicator) and stratifications of interest (age, gender, race/ethnicity)
Limitations of IndicatorBMI in age 2+ only; waist circumference measured but no standardized %iles available for children; no waist:hip ratio or body fat % measurement (except triceps skin fold, which is not widely accepted)
Analytic ConsiderationsAppropriate NHANES survey weights must be used for all analyses; BMI inherently limited in children but percentiles based on growth charts (https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/growthcharts/resources/sas.htm)
References and Sources:
  • Kuczmarski RJ, Ogden CL, Guo SS, et al. 2000 CDC growth charts for the United States: Methods and development. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 11(246). 2002
Suggested Citation:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic Kidney Disease Surveillance System—United States.
website. http://www.cdc.gov/ckd