Prevalence of overweight and obesity among women of childbearing age: results from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth

Matern Child Health J. 2009 Mar;13(2):268-73. doi: 10.1007/s10995-008-0340-6. Epub 2008 Apr 16.


Objective: To estimate the prevalence of overweight and obesity among U.S. women of childbearing age.

Methods: Our study population was drawn from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) and consisted of non-pregnant female respondents aged 20-44 years with a valid body mass index (BMI) (N = 5,958). Univariate and bivariate analyses were conducted to document variations in the prevalence of overweight and obesity by age, race and Hispanic origin, and socioeconomic status.

Results: Overall, 24.5% of women 20-44 years of age were overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9 kg/m(2)) and 23.0% were obese (BMI > or = 30.0 kg/m(2)). Among those who were obese, 10.3% met the criteria for class II or III obesity (BMI > or = 35.0 kg/m(2)). Non-Hispanic black and women were 2.25 times more likely to be overweight or obese compared to non-Hispanic white women (95% CI: 1.87-2.69). This disparity in risk between non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic white women declined and no longer achieved statistical significance after adjustment for education, household income, and health insurance coverage.

Conclusions: Nearly one in two U.S. women of childbearing age are either overweight or obese. The racial/ethnic disparity in prevalence rates may be due in part to variability in educational attainment, household income, and stability of health insurance coverage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Women's Health
  • Young Adult