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Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Activity

January 16, 2023

Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Activity


Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight includes a healthy diet, physical activity, optimal sleep, and stress reduction. A number of other factors may also influence weight gain.


A healthy diet features a wide variety of healthy foods. Popular diets may promise quick results, but such diets restrict your nutritional intake, may be unhealthy, and tend to fail in the long run.


How much physical activity you need depends in part on whether you want to maintain your weight or lose it. Walking is often a good way to add physical activity to your lifestyle.


Controlling your weight can help your health now and later. Conversely, people who are obese are at higher risk for many serious diseases and health conditions compared to people of normal weight. See examples of programs that can help.


Helping people maintain a healthy weight is part of the CDC's work to achieve health equity.


Obesity, Race/Ethnicity, and COVID-19


Obesity is a common, serious, and costly chronic disease. Obesity puts people at risk for many other serious chronic diseases and increases the risk of developing serious COVID-19 diseases. Everyone has a role to play in reversing the trend of obesity and its disproportionate impact on racial and ethnic minority groups. Obesity worsens COVID-19 outcomes

During the COVID-19 pandemic, overweight adults are at greater risk:


  • Obesity increases the risk of developing serious COVID-19 disease. Overweight people may also be at higher risk.
  • Obesity may triple the risk of hospitalization for COVID-19 infection.
  • Obesity is associated with impaired immune function
  • Obesity reduces lung capacity and lung volume, making it difficult to breathe


A study of COVID-19 cases showed that the risk of hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, invasive mechanical ventilation, and death was higher with higher BMI

The increased risk of hospitalization or death was particularly pronounced in those under 65 years of age. From the start of the pandemic through November 18, 2020, more than 900,000 adults in the United States were hospitalized for COVID-19. Models estimate that 271,800 of these hospitalizations (30.2%) are attributable to obesity


Children diagnosed with obesity may suffer more severe outcomes from COVID-19. In a study of COVID-19 cases in patients 18 years of age and younger, obesity was associated with a 3.07-fold increased risk of hospitalization during hospitalization and a 1.42-fold increased risk of serious illness (intensive care unit admission, invasive mechanical ventilation, or death).