Today, the CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity released its 2013 state-specific data on adult obesity prevalence using self-reported information from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). This new data shows that the proportion of adults with obesity in the United States in 2013 remained high with estimates across states ranging from 21.3% in Colorado to 35.1% in both Mississippi and West Virginia.
Obesity continues to be a common, serious, and costly public health problem. Other findings from the 2013 BRFSS include the following:
- In 7 states (California, Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, Utah, and Vermont) and the District of Columbia, obesity ranged from 20–25%.
- Obesity prevalence in 20 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) was 30% or greater.
- The South had the highest prevalence of obesity (30.2%), followed by the Midwest (30.1%), the Northeast (26.5%), and the West (24.9%).
- Combining data from 2011 through 2013, non-Hispanic blacks had the highest prevalence of self-reported obesity (37.6%), followed by Hispanics (30.6%), and non-Hispanic whites (26.6%).
BRFSS is the nation's state-based data tracking system that collects self-reported information (through telephone surveys) from U.S. residents about their health-related behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services. BRFSS collects data in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and three U.S. territories (Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands).
Several updates were made to BRFSS methodology in 2011 that impact the estimates of state-level adult obesity prevalence. Because of these changes in methodology, data collected in 2011 provided a new baseline for state adult obesity prevalence. Data collected in 2011 and forward cannot be compared to estimates from previous years. The 2013 State Adult Obesity Map reflects these changes in the BRFSS and is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/
More CDC Resources
- Body Mass Index (BMI) provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories such as obesity that may lead to health problems like heart disease and diabetes. CDC’s adult BMI calculator is now available in both English and Spanish and can be accessed here.
- Defining Overweight and Obesity
- What Causes Overweight and Obesity?
- Strategies to Combat Obesity