Health >> Obesity / Overweight >> Adults >> Adult: Obesity

Although obesity is no longer rising in King County, it remains at historically high levels, accompanied by persistent geographic and racial disparities.


On average, people who have obesity have shorter life spans and are at higher risk for many serious diseases. In 2011-2015 combined, 22% of King County adults were obese.

  • Trends: After a steady rise from 16% in 2000-2002 to 22% in 2008-2010, average obesity rates remained stable but high through 2013-2015, our latest data.  Black/African Americans and Whites also saw their rates rising in the early 2000s and flattening in more recent years, while rates for Hispanics and AIAN people also rose. South Region, East Region and Seattle all saw increasing obesity prevalence.  
  • Race and ethnicity: Asian residents had lower obesity rates than the King County average (8%).  Black/African American and American Indian/Alaska Native residents were more likely than average to be obese (33% and 44%, respectively).
  • Age: Obesity was low in young adults age 18-24 (10%), less than half as common than in people in older age groups.
  • Income: People in households earning less than $15,000 (28%) or $15,000 to less than $25,000 (26%) per year were more likely to be obese than those in households earning at least $75,000 (19%).
  • Region and city/neighborhood: Obesity in South Region substantially exceeded rates in Seattle, East and North Regions.  South Region contained all 11 cities/neighborhoods that had higher rates of obesity than King County average. 13 cities and neighborhoods had lower obesity rates than King County average, including 8 Seattle neighborhoods, 4 areas in the East region, and 1 area in the North region. 

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Notes & Sources Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 

Numerator: Respondents who reported a height and weight that classified them as obese (see below). Respondents were asked, “About how tall are you without shoes?” and “About how much do you weigh without shoes?”

Denominator: All respondents who answered the question.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a ratio of weight to height used in defining obesity and overweight. Adults are considered obese if their BMI is 30 or above. They are considered overweight if their BMI is at least 25 but less than 30. BMI is calculated as follows: BMI= weight in pounds / (height in inches)2 x 703. A BMI calculator is available at

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System collects information on the health and safety of Washington residents aged 18 and older. Every year, the Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conduct the survey primarily through telephone interviews, including landline and cellphone numbers. To learn more about the survey, please go to