The obesity epidemic threatens Texas’ physical and fiscal health. Texans young and old are growing fatter. Nearly 66 percent of Texas adults and 32 percent of Texas teens are overweight or obese. Obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, arteriosclerosis, and hypertension are increasing at the same rate as obesity.

Obesity and its related diseases affect rising health care costs and health insurance premiums. At least 50 percent of health care expenditures are lifestyle-related and preventable. Economic costs related to excess weight and obesity in Texas could reach $15.6 billion in 2010.

To stop this epidemic, we must shift our focus from treating the diseases that result from obesity to preventing it.

Fat Facts

  • Texas ranks 14th in the nation, with an obesity rate of 27.9 percent. Texas also ranks 20th for overweight youth (ages 10-17) at 32.2 percent.
  • One in three Texas teens is overweight or obese. More than one-fifth of young adults (ages 18-25) in Texas are obese, up from 10 percent in 2000.
  • In Texas, obesity occurs across the board for all ethnic groups and ages. Current projections suggest that by 2040, 75 percent of Texans will be overweight or obese.
  • The percentage of obese or overweight children is at or above 30 percent in 30 states, including Texas.
  • Research shows students who are physically fit do better in school: they have higher test scores, good school attendance, and fewer disciplinary referrals.
  • A 2005 study found 42 percent of Texas fourth graders, 39 percent of eighth graders, and 36 percent of 11th graders were overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. An overweight adolescent has a 70-percent chance of becoming overweight as an adult.
  • Being overweight or obese increases an individual’s risk for a range of serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and some forms of cancers.
  • Obesity rates among adults rose in 23 states during the past year and did not decline anywhere. More than six out of 10 Texas adults are overweight or obese.
  • Treating obese patients costs 37 percent more than treating normal-weight patients.

Sources: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas Health Institute, Texas FITNESSGRAM®, National Institutes of Health, Trust for America’s Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Center of Educational Statistics