States Where Children Are Struggling With Obesity


To determine the states where youth — ninth to 12th graders — are struggling with obesity, 24/7 Tempo  reviewed 2019 data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. We ranked the states based on the reported youth obesity rate as of 2019, the latest year for which data is available. Eight states — Delaware, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming — do not have data on youth obesity from the YRBSS. 

Information on the share of youth who are overweight also came from the YRBSS. 

The YRBSS is a system of surveys that includes a national-based survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state, territorial, and tribal agencies and governments and local surveys, conducted by local agencies. The YRBSS monitors six categories of health-related behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youths and adults. 

We also reviewed data from the 2018 United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, provided by the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance. The report assesses the levels of physical and sedentary behaviors in American children and youth, facilitators and barriers for physical activity, and health outcomes related to physical activity. Data on communities with infrastructure to promote physical activity such as sidewalks, trails, bike lanes, and paths came from the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance report. 

Poverty rates, household income, and population figures were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and are for 2019.