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Obesity and Asian Americans

  • Non-Hispanic whites are 60% more likely to be obese as Asian Americans.
  • Filipino adults are 70% more likely to be obese as compared to the overall Asian population.
  • About 1 in 10 Vietnamese and Korean adults are underweight.1

 

Age-adjusted percentage of persons 20 years of age and over who are overweight or obese, 2011-2014 (Persons are considered overweight if they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or greater.) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

 
Asians
Non-Hispanic White
Asians/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
46.9
73.7
0.6
Women
34.4
63.5
0.5
Total
40.3
68.5
0.6

Source: CDC, 2017. Health United States, 2016. Table 58.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus16.pdf [PDF | 11.14MB]

 

Age-adjusted percentage of persons 18 years of age and over who are overweight but not obese, 2015. (Persons are considered overweight if they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or greater.)

Asians
Non-Hispanic White
Asians/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
30
32.9
0.9

Source: CDC 2017. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2015. Table A-15
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

 

Age-adjusted percentage of persons 20 years of age and over who are obese, 2011-2014 (Persons are considered overweight if they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or greater.) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

 
Asians
Non-Hispanic White
Asians/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
11.3
28.4
0.4
Women
11.9
26.3
0.5
Total
11.8
27.4
0.4

Source: CDC, 2017. Health United States, 2016. Table 58
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus16.pdf [PDF | 11.14MB]

 

Age-adjusted percentage of persons 18 years of age and over who are obese, 2015. (Persons are considered obese if they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater.)

Asians
Non-Hispanic White
Asians/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
10.6
28.5
0.4

Source: CDC 2017. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2015. Table A-15
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

 

Age-adjusted percent distributions of selected health behaviors for adults 18 years of age and over, 2004–2006, overweight but not obese

Population
Overweight
Ratio Overweight/ All Asian Population
Ratio Overweight / Whites
All Whites
34.6
--
--
All Asians
27.5
--
0.8
Chinese
21.8
0.8
0.6
Filipino
33.0
1.2
1.0
Asian Indian
34.4
1.3
1.0
Japanese
25.9
0.9
0.7
Vietnamese
19.1
0.7
0.5
Korean
27.3
1.0
0.8
Other Asian & NHOPI
29.2
1.1
0.8

Source:  CDC, 2008. Health Characteristics of the Asian Adult Population: United States, 2004-2006. Table 2.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad394.pdf [PDF | 476KB]

 

Age-adjusted percent distributions of selected health behaviors for adults 18 years of age and over, 2004–2006, obese

Population
Obese
Ratio Obese/ All Asian Population
Ratio Obese / Whites
All Whites
23.6
--
--
All Asians
8.1
--
0.3
Chinese
4.2
0.5
0.2
Filipino
14.1
1.7
0.6
Asian Indian
6.0
0.7
0.3
Japanese
8.7
1.1
0.4
Vietnamese
5.3
0.7
0.3
Korean
2.8
0.3
0.1
Other Asian & NHOPI
12.5
1.5
0.5

Source:  CDC, 2008. Health Characteristics of the Asian Adult Population: United States, 2004-2006. Table 2.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad394.pdf [PDF | 476KB]

 

CHILDREN

Percentage of obese children and adolescents 6-17 years of age. 2011-2014

Asian

Non-Hispanic White

Asian/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio

9.8

17.1

0.6

Source:  Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. America's Children: Key National Indicators of well-Being. 2017.
Table HEALTH7 http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/tables/health7.asp

Percent of children age 2-17 for whom a doctor or other health provider gave ever advice about amount and kind of physical activity, United States, 2013

Asian
Non-Hispanic White
Asian/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
48.8
39.9
1.2

Source: National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports. Data Query: Table 7_2_1_6_1.1. [Accessed 08/17/2017]
http://nhqrnet.ahrq.gov/inhqrdr/data/query

 

Percent of children age 2-17 for whom a doctor or other health provider ever gave advice about eating healthy, United States, 2013

Asian
Non-Hispanic White
Asian/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
63.1
56.3
1.1

Source: National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports. Data Query: Table 7_2_1_8_1.1. [Accessed 08/18/2017]
http://nhqrnet.ahrq.gov/inhqrdr/data/query

 

ADOLESCENTS

 

Percentage of high school students who were overweight, 2015

 
Asians
White
Asian/White Ratio
Girls
8.6
14.6
0.6
Boys
14.4
15.9
0.9
Total
11.9
15.2
0.8

Source: High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data.
Available at http://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline. [Accessed 08/18/2017]

 

Percentage of high school students who were obese, 2015

 
Asians
White
Asian/White Ratio
Girls
1.9
9.1
0.2
Boys
8.3
15.6
0.5
Total
5.5
12.4
0.4

Source: High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data.
Available at http://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline. [Accessed 08/18/2017]

 

HEALTH IMPACT OF OBESITY

  • People who are overweight are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, high levels of blood fats, diabetes and LDL cholesterol ("a fatlike substance") -- all risk factors for heart disease and stroke. 2

 

Physical Activity:

 

Percentage Inactive physical activity among adults 18 & over: 2015 (Did not meet federal physical activity guidelines)

Asian
Non-Hispanic White
Asian/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
45.1
43.7
1.0

Source: CDC 2017. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2015. Table A-14
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

 

Percentage Some Leisure Time Physical Activity Among Adults 18 & over: 2015 (Met aerobic guidelines only)

Asian
Non-Hispanic White
Asian/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
51.4
53.0
1.0

Source: CDC 2017. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2015. Table A-14
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

 

Percentage Regular Leisure Physical Activity Among Adults 18 & over: 2014 (Met federal physical activity guidelines)

Asian
Non-Hispanic White
Asian/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
19.1
23.4
0.8

Source: CDC 2017. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2015. Table A-14
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

 

Percent of adults age 18 and over who were obese who were given advice about exercise, United States, 2013

Asian
Non-Hispanic White
Asian/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
66.1
64.5
1.0

Source: National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports. Data Query: Table 7_2_1_5_11. [Accessed 08/18/2017]
http://nhqrnet.ahrq.gov/inhqrdr/data/query

 

Percent of adults age 18 and over who were obese who were given advice about eating fewer high fat or high cholesterol foods, United States, 2012

Asian
Non-Hispanic White
Asian/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
53.1
51.5
1.0

Source: National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports. Data Query: Table 7_2_1_7_1.1. [Accessed 08/18/2017]
http://nhqrnet.ahrq.gov/inhqrdr/data/query


At a Glace – Risk Factors

Obesity is a risk factor for several diseases. For statistics on these related diseases see:

Diabetes – See Diabetes and Asians/Pacific Islanders

Heart Disease – See Heart Disease and Asians/Pacific Islanders

Stroke – See Stroke and Asians/Pacific Islanders


1Source: CDC, 2008. Health Characteristics of the Asian Adult Population: United States, 2004-2006, page 5.
2 Source: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/effects/index.html

Last Modified: 8/25/2017 9:52:00 AM