Percent of Obese (BMI > 30) in U.S. Adults
Obesity in US Adults: 2012
No State Meets Healthy People 2010 Goals
According to data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), no state met the Healthy People 2010 objective of 15 percent, and 30 states were 10 or more percentage points away from the objective. The Healthy People 2010 (HP2010) national health objectives include one to reduce the proportion of adults who are obese to 15 percent.
These latest figures from the CDC demonstrate that obesity continues to be a significant public health problem. The Healthy People 2010 (HP2010) national health objectives include one to reduce the proportion of adults who are obese to 15% (objective 19-2) (1). However, the proportion of adults aged 20 and over who were obese rose 47.8% (from 23% to 34%), and away from the 2010 goal of 15%. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above. BMI is calculated using height and weight. For example, a 5-foot, 9-inch adult who weighs 203 pounds would have a BMI of 30, thus putting this person into the obese category.
No state met the Healthy People 2010 objective of 15% and 30 states were 10 or more percentage points away from the objective. State-specific obesity prevalence ranged from 20.5% in Colorado to 34.7% in Louisiana in 2012.
Among 2012 BRFSS respondents:
- 28.1% were obese.
- 33.7% (33.5%) of men and 36.5% (36.1%) of women were obese.
- The obesity prevalence ranged from 30.3% for men and women aged 20-39 years to 39.5% and 35.4%, respectively, for men and women aged 40--59 years and ages 60 and over.
- By race/ethnicity and sex the obesity prevalence was highest for non-Hispanic black women (56.7% (56.6%)) followed by non-Hispanic black men (37.0% (37.1%)).
- The obesity prevalence was higher in the South (29.4%) and Midwest (29.5%) and lower in the Northeast (25.3%) and West (25.1%).
CDC conducts obesity prevention programs and activities in many different settings and with a wide range of partners, including state and local health and education departments and communities across the country. For example, as part of CDC’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Program to Prevent Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases, the Washington State implemented a community intervention that promotes environmental and policy changes to help encourage healthful nutrition and physical activity behavior. Changes include widening sidewalks, connecting systems of paths for pedestrians and cyclists in a community, and creating community gardens.
CDC also works with employers and work-site health experts to translate evidence-based recommendations from the Task Force on Community Preventive Services (2) on work-site interventions for preventing obesity into business practice. One product from this collaboration will include a return on investment cost calculator to assist businesses in making the case for initiation and maintenance of wellness programs, especially those that promote weight management. In addition, an interactive website will provide guidance for the creation, expansion or customization of work-site obesity programs. These tools and products will enable employers to more easily implement the evidenced-based recommendations.
1. US Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010 (conference ed, in 2 vols). Washington DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2000. Available at: http://www.health.gov/healthypeople.
2. CDC. Public health strategies for preventing and controlling overweight and obesity in school and worksite settings: a report on recommendations of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services. MMWR 2005;54(RR-10):1--12.
3. Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of obesity among adults: United States, 2011–2012. NCHS data brief, no 131. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2013.
4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Healthy People 2010. Washington, DC. Available at [http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hpdata2010/hp2010_final_review.pdf]. Accessed [5/29/2014].
State-Specific Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults in the United States, 2007. MMWR, 2008;57(28):765-768.
Last updated June 2014.