Adults who are obese or overweight are more likely to develop a number of serious diseases and to die at younger ages than people who are not obese or overweight. Obesity is associated with a reduced quality of life, and with the leading causes of death in the U.S. including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.
In Pregnant Women
Obese women are at higher risk of health complications during pregnancy, and are less likely to breastfeed. Gaining more weight during pregnancy than recommended can cause poor birth outcomes and increases the risk of retaining extra weight after the baby is born.
In Youth and Children
To help prevent obesity, Governor Jay Inslee launched the Healthiest Next Generation Initiative in collaboration with families, community leaders, businesses and agencies statewide to make our next generation the healthiest one ever.
Current Health Status
Over a quarter of the adult population in Washington State is considered obese. Adult obesity rates vary among Washington's counties, ranging from 13% to 46%. Obesity rates in adults increase with age until 45, hold steady through 74, and then decline.
About a quarter of women who gave birth were obese prior to becoming pregnant, and 45% of pregnant women gained more weight during pregnancy than recommended.
Among teens, about 11% are obese. Similarly, about 10% of children enrolled in the Women's, Infants, and Children's (WIC) program are obese. There is limited data available for obesity in young children. As more information becomes available, this site will be updated.
Obesity can develop throughout the lifespan, but risk is highest in middle age. Overweight or obese children are more likely than children with normal weights to become obese adults.
Overall adult obesity rates have appeared to level off over the past several years. Teen obesity rates remain steady; and there has been a significant decrease in children's obesity rates in 2010-2014 after remaining steady from 2004-2010. The rate of pre-pregnancy obesity has been increasing.
Contact us at P4IPH@doh.wa.gov.