In 2020, 16 states had adult obesity rates at or above 35 percent, up from 12 states the previous year. These and other emerging data show that the COVID-19 pandemic changed eating habits, worsened levels of food insecurity, created obstacles to physical activity, and heightened stress, all exacerbating the decades long pattern of obesity in America.
This report is based in part on newly released 2020 data from the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System and analysis by Trust for America's Health (TFAH). It provides an annual snapshot of rates of overweight and obesity by age, race/ethnicity and state of residence for U.S. adults. In the report, TFAH calls for addressing the social determinants of obesity, for example, by ensuring access to no cost healthy school meals for all students, a program started during the pandemic.