According to new data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the U.S. obesity rate for youth aged 10–17 in 2017–2018 was 15.3%, compared with 16.1% in 2016. The difference is not statistically significant. Black and Hispanic youth had obesity rates (22.2% and 19%, respectively), that were significantly higher than white youth, 11.8%, or Asian American youth, 7.3%. The obesity rate ranged from 8.7% in Utah to 25.4% in Mississippi, according to the most recent state-by-state data from the 2017–2018 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH).

Three states had obesity rates that were statistically significantly higher than the national rate: Mississippi (25.4%), West Virginia (20.9%), and Kentucky (20.8%). Six states had obesity rates statistically significantly lower than the national rate: Utah (8.7%), Minnesota (9.4%), Alaska (9.9%), Colorado (10.7%), Montana (10.8%), and Washington (11.0%). No states saw statistically significant changes in their overall obesity rates between 2016 and 2017–2018, however additional years of data are needed before trends over time can be reliably assessed.

In recent years, the NSCH was significantly redesigned, and the 2016 survey was the first to reflect those changes. Due to changes in the survey’s mode of data collection and sampling frame it is not possible to directly compare results from the 2016 or later years to earlier iterations. Starting in 2016, the NSCH is being conducted as an annual survey and will continue to collect new data each year going forward, so trends over time can be evaluated, with 2016 data serving as a new baseline.

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