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Data source: Federal Statistical Office

Geographical Area: Germany

This table includes additional information to the above visualized indicators, i.e. a short definition of this indicator and a description of the politically determined target values as well as explaining the political intention behind selecting this indicator.


The indicator shows the proportion of adults (aged 18 years and older) suffering from obesity in the total adult population.

Target and intention

Excess weight plays a crucial role in the emergence of diseases of civilisation, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and joint injuries. Besides its consequences to health, excess weight is a burden on the national economy and has a negative impact on social life. Consequently, the proportion of the population with obesity in Germany should not increase any further.

Data status

The data published in the indicator report 2022 is as of 31 October 2022. The data shown on this platform is updated regularly, so that more current data may be available online than published in the indicator report 2022.

Text from the Indicator Report 2022 

Obesity is determined with the help of the Body Mass Index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing the body weight in kilograms by the square of an individual’s height in metres. The BMI is a benchmark that does not take account of the physique, age- and gender-specific differences as well as the individual body mass composition. People with a BMI of 25 and above are classified as “overweight” according to the WHO and those with a BMI of 30 as “obese”.

The data used for the indicator are based on the microcensus of the Federal Statistical Office. The sample survey is conducted among 1 % of the total population and is the largest household survey in Germany and Europe. The responses to the health questions, which are generally asked every four years, are voluntary. Consequently, the indicator is based on the proportion of the population with a BMI of 30 and higher that also answered the microcensus questions concerning body weight and body size. In the microcensus, self-assessment questions are prone to underestimation of own body weight and overestimation of own body height. Hence, the calculated BMI based on self-assessment is below the BMI based on measurements.

The corresponding data were standardised relative to the European population of 1990 to allow data from different years and regions to be compared without distortions due to different age structures. Since the questions on health in the microcensus are not asked annually, the interim years in the chart were interpolated.

In 2021, 15.4 % of the population in Germany over the age of 18 were obese. Here, the share of obese men (17.3 %) was higher than the share of obese women (13.4 %). Before, in 1999, the share of obese persons was only 10.7 % of the population. At that time, the proportion of women (10.2 %) affected by obesity was also slightly lower than that of men (11.1 %). Thus, the obesity rate among adults has increased and is developing contrary to the goal envisioned by the German strategy for sustainable development.

Another 33.7 % of the population aged 18 and over had a BMI of 25 to under 30 in 2021. In total, 49.1 % were considered to be overweight (BMI 25 and over). The proportion of women (38.8 %) was significantly smaller than that of men (58.7 %).

The proportion of adults suffering from obesity increases with age, and the trend reverses only among people at a very advanced age. In 2021, 5.3 % of 20 to under 25-year-old women were obese. At the age of 30 to under 35, 12.5 % of the women were obese. The highest proportion of obese women (19.9 %) was found in the age group between 70 and under 75 years of age. The rate of obesity among men was higher among those under 75 than among women of the same age and reached the highest proportions in the age groups 60 to under 65 (23.6 %) and 45 to under 50 (23.5 %). Above 75 years of age, the proportion of obese women is equal to the proportion of obese man (16.2 %).

The synoptic table provides information about the evaluation of the indicator in previous years. It shows if the weather symbol assigned to an indicator was rather stable or volatile in the past years. (Evaluation of the Indicator Report 2022 )


3.1.f Obesity rate among adults


Increase to be permanently halted







No assess­ment possible