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Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

Many Americans do not eat a healthy diet and are not physically active at levels recommended to maintain proper health. This has contributed to an increase in adult and childhood obesity, which is particularly troubling as obesity puts individuals at increased risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, all of which are among the leading causes of death.

Related Disparities

Physical Activity in Adults by Sex

Males (24.6%, age adjusted) had a higher rate of meeting the current Federal physical activity guidelines than females (17.1%, age adjusted) in 2011.

Vegetable Intake by Educational Attainment

In 2001–04, college graduates on average consumed 1.0 cup equivalents of total vegetables per 1,000 calories per day (age adjusted), whereas persons with less than a high school education consumed 0.8 cup equivalents (age adjusted).


Physical Activity

In 2011, 20.8% of adults aged 18 years and older met the current Federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic physical activity and muscle-strengthening activity.

20.8% (age adjusted) 2011
20.1% (age adjusted) 2020 Target
**Target has been met

Adult Obesity

In 2009–10, 35.7% of adults aged 10 years and older were obese.

35.7% (age adjusted) 2009–10
30.6% (age adjusted) 2020 Target
14.3% Decrease needed

Obesity in Children and Adolescents

In 2009–10, 16.9% of children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years were considered obese.

16.9% 2009–10*
14.6% 2020 Target
13.6% Decrease needed

*Target is based on a 4-year estimate, and the most recent (2009–2010) 2-year estimate will be replaced by a 4-year estimate later in the decade.
**While the most recent data indicate that the target has been met, monitoring over the decade is important to ensure progress continues.