Roughly 18.5% of U.S. youths were obese in 2015-’16 and rates were highest for adolescents, according to a new report from federal health officials.
The National Center for Health Statistics used data from National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys to study obesity, which was defined as having body mass index greater than or equal to the 95th percentile on national growth charts.
Roughly 21% of adolescents age 12-19 were obese in 2015-’16 compared to 18 % of children age 6-11 and 14% of children age 2-5, according to the report. There was no significant difference between girls and boys of the same race.
The overall youth obesity rate of 18.5% was not a statistically significant difference from 17% in 2013-’14, but it was significantly higher than 14% in 1999-2000. It falls short of the Healthy People 2020 goal of 14.5%.
Obesity rates were highest among Hispanic youths (26%) followed by non-Hispanic black (22%), non-Hispanic white (14%) and Asian (11%) youths.