Thursday, August 16, 2012

Adult Obesity Rates in the U.S.

The HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its 2011 State Obesity Map (

 In 2011, rates of adult obesity remain high, with state estimates ranging from 20.7 percent in Colorado to 34.9 percent in Mississippi. No state had a prevalence of adult obesity less than 20 percent, and 12 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia) had a prevalence of 30 percent or more. The South had the highest prevalence of adult obesity (29.5 percent), followed by the Midwest (29 percent), the Northeast (25.3 percent) and the West (24.3 percent).

In 2011, several updates occurred with Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) that impact estimates of state-level adult obesity prevalence. First, there was an overall change in the BRFSS methodology, including the incorporation of cell-phone only households, and a new weighting process. These changes in methodology were made to ensure that the sample better represents the population in each state. Second, to generate more accurate estimates of obesity prevalence, small changes were made to the criteria used to determine which respondents are included in the data analysis.

Because of these changes in methodology, estimates of obesity prevalence from 2011 forward cannot be compared to estimates from previous years. Data collected in 2011 will provide a new baseline for obesity prevalence data collected in subsequent years.

BRFSS is only one of several data sets that monitor rates of obesity in the United States. When considering these other data sets, including the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the obesity epidemic is still a major public health problem.

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