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Obesity / Overweight:  Summary & Data Highlights

While the percent of King County adults who are overweight has stayed about the same since 1987, the rate of obesity has tripled.

At any stage of life, obesity can have serious health consequences, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  Overweight children are at risk of becoming obese adults; obese children are likely to remain obese in adulthood.  

Adult Obesity / Overweight

In 2011, 55% of King County adults (about 832,000) were either obese or overweight, up from 37% in 1987.

  • Obesity, not overweight, drove this trend, which occurred in all regions of King County.
  • The upward trend has plateaued, as neither obesity nor overweight changed in the past 5 years. National rates have followed a similar course.

To compare obesity among sub-groups of adults, 3 years of data (2009-2011) were combined. Overall, 21% of King County adults were obese; 34% were overweight.

  • Obesity rates were highest in South Region (28%), and lowest in East Region (18%).
  • Blacks, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Hispanics, and Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders were more likely to be obese than whites and Asians. Because the obesity rate was so low among Asians (6%), and because Asians represented a much larger proportion of the population of King County (14.6%) than of the U.S. (4.8%), King County’s overall obesity rate masked significant racial and ethnic group disparities.
  • King County residents earning more than $75,000 a year were less likely to be obese than those with lower incomes. Still, 18% of adults at this income level were obese.
  • College graduates were less likely to be obese than adults with less education.
  • Adults who were unable to work were more likely to be obese than those in other employment categories.
  • 33% of adults with a disability were obese, compared to 18% of those without a disability.

 New! Interactive data visualization options show

  • … changes in obesity rates in King County and all 4 regions from 1994 to 2011, using time-slider and color-coded map and bar charts.
  • … color-coded map with capacity to show obesity rates for all 39 counties in Washington State, then zoom in for more detail in …
    • … King County’s 4 regions.
    • … King County’s 48 Health Reporting Areas.
    • … King County ZIP codes.
    … bar graphs of Obesity in King County by 14 different demographic breakdowns.

Youth Obesity / Overweight

In 2010, 9% of King County youth in grades 8, 10 and 12 were obese, and 21% were overweight or obese.

  • In East Region, rates of youth obesity (and overweight + obesity) were lower than in King County overall. 
  • In South Region, rates of youth obesity (and overweight + obesity) were higher than in King County overall. 
  • Youth obesity/overweight rates were lower in King County than in the nation overall: among U.S. youth in grades 9 through 12, 12% were obese and 38% were overweight or obese in 2009.

Among King County 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in 2010 …

  • Obesity did not differ by grade.
  • Black non-Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic youth had higher obesity rates than Asian or white non-Hispanic youth.
  • Female middle and high school students were less likely than males to report heights and weights that classified them as obese.