Teen: Overweight (But Not Obese)

The teen overweight rate dropped in Seattle. The rate drop did not occur among South County teens, where rates are now elevated.


In a survey of Washington public school students, 8th, 10th, and 12th graders were asked for their height, weight, gender and age. For 2014 and 2016 combined, 12% of students reported heights and weights that classified them as overweight, but less than obese for their gender and age.

  • Trends: Overall, the rate of overweight teens remained stable from 2004-2016, fluctuating between 12% and 13%. However, trends in some communities were different. Among Black/African American teens, the rate fell from 19% to 13%. In the South Region, rates were stable (fluctuating between 14% and 15%) and were elevated by 2016, while in Seattle, the rate fell from 15% to 11%.

  • Race and ethnicity: Teens who identified as more than one race (14%), Hispanic/Latino (18%), or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (19%) were more likely than teens in King County as a whole to be overweight. Asian teens (10%) and White teens (11%) were less likely.

  • Place: At 15%, teens in South Region were more likely to be overweight than teens in East Region (10%), North Region or Seattle (11% each).

In total, 21% of students reported heights and weights that classified them as either overweight or obese. If you are interested in rates of teens who are classified as obese, please refer to Teen Obesity.


 Notes & Sources

Source: Healthy Youth Survey.

Numerator: Students who reported a height and weight that classified them as overweight.

Denominator: All students who answered the questions.

Students were asked “How tall are you without your shoes on?” and “How much do you weigh without your shoes on?” These self-reported data on height and weight were used to calculate each student’s Body Mass Index.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a ratio of weight to height used in defining obesity and overweight. Youth are considered obese if their BMI is at or above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and gender. Youth are considered overweight if the BMI at or above the 85th percentile and below the 95th percentile for students of the same age and gender.

Every 2 years, Washington public school students in 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grades answer questions about safety and violence, physical activity and diet, alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, and related risk and protective factors. To learn more about the survey, please go to https://www.doh.wa.gov/DataandStatisticalReports/DataSystems/HealthyYouthSurvey.