Skip to main content

Nearly Half of U.S. Adults Live with Obesity

New interactive map provides state-level data on obesity rates and related chronic diseases.

CHICAGO, March 22, 2023 — A new analysis from NORC at the University of Chicago shows that 42% of adults in the United States are living with obesity, from a high of 51.1% in West Virginia and 51.0% in Mississippi to a low of 33.0% in Washington, DC and 34.1% in Colorado. According to the analysis, obesity rates have steadily increased over the last decade.

“Millions of people in the United States live with the chronic, complex, but treatable disease of obesity,” said Sarah Rayel, director of Health Care Strategy at NORC. “The latest analysis of obesity rates provides a better understanding of the prevalence of obesity in specific regions, while also highlighting that obesity is an issue in every state in the country.”

The experts from NORC who conducted the analysis created a mapping tool with funding from Novo Nordisk that enables researchers, policymakers, and the public to compare rates of obesity and obesity-related diseases across the United States. The map lets users analyze the data by key demographic characteristics such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, urbanicity, and education level, and across three time periods: 2013-2015, 2016-2018, and 2019-2021.

“Millions of people in the United States live with the chronic, complex, but treatable disease of obesity,”

Sarah Rayel

Director of Health Care Strategy

“Millions of people in the United States live with the chronic, complex, but treatable disease of obesity,”

According to published research, obesity is associated with other chronic conditions that are among the leading causes of preventable, premature death. The new interactive map also contains state-level estimates for rates of nine conditions associated with obesity: hypertension, arthritis, stroke, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, heart attack, diabetes, high cholesterol, and kidney disease. NORC designed the new tool to show how obesity intersects with these nine conditions, illustrating the important relationship between obesity and other common, deadly diseases.

“As the number of adults living with obesity continues to rise, it is increasingly important for both researchers and policymakers to understand how obesity interacts with other conditions. This new mapping tool provides the opportunity to do just that,” said Rayel. “The tool can also be used to better target treatment and policy solutions, which are crucial in improving health outcomes.”

State-by-State Obesity Rates
Alabama – 49.9%
Alaska – 43.2%
Arizona – 42.4%
Arkansas – 48.8%
California – 37.6%
Colorado – 34.1%
Connecticut – 40.4%
Delaware – 45.0%
Florida – 38.2%
Georgia – 43.6%
Hawaii – 35.8%
Idaho – 42.1%
Illinois – 43.5%
Indiana – 47.3%
Iowa – 47.6%
Kansas – 47.4%
Kentucky – 48.8%
Louisiana – 47.9%
Maine – 41.8%
Maryland – 42.7%
Massachusetts – 35.5%
Michigan – 46.1%
Minnesota – 41.9%
Mississippi – 51.0%
Missouri – 46.2%
Montana – 40.8%
Nebraska – 46.3%
Nevada – 41.4%
New Hampshire – 42.5%
New Jersey – 38.7%
New Mexico – 44.1%
New York – 37.4%
North Carolina – 45.0%
North Dakota – 47.3%
Ohio – 46.7%
Oklahoma – 49.5%
Oregon – 39.9%
Pennsylvania – 43.1%
Rhode Island – 40.6%
South Carolina – 45.7%
South Dakota – 47.6%
Tennessee – 47.5%
Texas – 46.1%
Utah – 41.1%
Vermont – 36.9%
Virginia – 43.5%
Washington – 38.8%
Washington, DC – 33.0%
West Virginia – 51.1%
Wisconsin – 44.8%
Wyoming – 43.2%

This interactive mapping tool provides estimates of the prevalence of obesity and nine comorbidities at the state level for U.S. adults in 50 states and the District of Columbia. The tool allows users to select up to three sociodemographic characteristics, from age, gender, race/ethnicity, urbanicity, and education level, to produce estimates for specific subpopulations at the state level. All estimates in the mapping tool use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) datasets from 2013 through 2021, pooled in three-year groups (2013-15, 2016-18, and 2019-21). To correct for any reporting bias in the body mass index measure, based on self-reporting of height and weight, NORC adjusted the distribution of BMI scores to that of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for corresponding time periods by age, sex, and race/ethnicity. The selection of comorbidities included in the tool was determined by data availability in BRFSS and by the correlation between the prevalence of obesity and the prevalence of the comorbidity. Only comorbidities that the analysis found to have a moderate to strong correlation through the BRFSS data are included in this mapping tool.


To learn more and explore state-level estimates, visit

For a full description of the methodology and a user’s guide, see the reports available at

About NORC at the University of Chicago

NORC at the University of Chicago conducts research and analysis that decision-makers trust. As a nonpartisan research organization and a pioneer in measuring and understanding the world, we have studied almost every aspect of the human experience and every major news event for more than eight decades. Today, we partner with government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world to provide the objectivity and expertise necessary to inform the critical decisions facing society.

Contact: For more information, please contact Eric Young at NORC at or (703) 217-6814 (cell).


Research Divisions

Departments, Centers & Programs