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Adult Obesity Facts

Obesity is common, serious and costly

  • More than one-third (or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese. [Read abstract Journal of American Medicine (JAMA)]
  • Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death. [Read guidelines]
  • The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. [Read summary]

Obesity affects some groups more than others

  • Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest age-adjusted rates of obesity (47.8%) followed by Hispanics (42.5%), non-Hispanic whites (32.6%), and non-Hispanic Asians (10.8%)
  • Obesity is higher among middle age adults, 40-59 years old (39.5%) than among younger adults, age 20-39 (30.3%) or adults over 60 or above (35.4%) adults.

Obesity and socioeconomic status

[Read CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief [PDF-1.07Mb]

  • Among non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American men, those with higher incomes are more likely to be obese than those with low income.
  • Higher income women are less likely to be obese than low-income women.
  • There is no significant relationship between obesity and education among men. Among women, however, there is a trend—those with college degrees are less likely to be obese compared with less educated women.

Obesity prevalence in 2012 varies across states and regions

  • By state, obesity prevalence ranged from 20.5% in Colorado to 34.7% in Louisiana in 2012. No state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Nine states and the District of Columbia had prevalence between 20-25%. Thirteen states (Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia) had a prevalence equal to or greater than 30%.
  • Higher prevalence of adult obesity was found in the Midwest (29.5%) and the South (29.4%). Lower prevalence was observed in the Northeast (25.3%) and the West (25.1%).

 

The U.S. map has been color coded to indicate the range of obesity prevalence in each state in 2012. No state had an obesity prevalence between 15% to less than 20%. States that had an obesity prevalence between 20% to less than 25% are: Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming. States that had an obesity prevalence between 25% to less than 30% are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. States that had an obesity prevalence between 30% to less than 35% are: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. No state had an obesity prevalence equal to or greater than 35%.

 

StatePrevalence95% Confidence Interval
Alabama33.0(31.5, 34.4)
Alaska25.7(23.9, 27.5)
Arizona26.0(24.3, 27.8)
Arkansas34.5(32.7, 36.4)
California25.0(23.9, 26.0)
Colorado20.5(19.5, 21.4)
Connecticut25.6(24.3, 26.9)
Delaware26.9(25.2, 28.6)
District of Columbia21.9(19.8, 24.0)
Florida25.2(23.6, 26.7)
Georgia29.1(27.4, 30.8)
Hawaii23.6(22.0, 25.1)
Idaho26.8(24.8, 28.8)
Illinois28.1(26.4, 29.9)
Indiana31.4(30.1, 32.7)
Iowa30.4(29.1, 31.8)
Kansas29.9(28.7, 31.0)
Kentucky31.3(29.9, 32.6)
Louisiana34.7(33.1, 36.4)
Maine28.4(27.2, 29.5)
Maryland27.6(26.3, 28.9)
Massachusetts22.9(22.0, 23.8)
Michigan31.1(29.8, 32.3)
Minnesota25.7(24.7, 26.8)
Mississippi34.6(33.0, 36.2)
Missouri29.6(28.0, 31.2)
Montana24.3(23.1, 25.5)
Nebraska28.6(27.7, 29.6)
Nevada26.2(24.3, 28.1)
New Hampshire27.3(25.8, 28.8)
New Jersey24.6(23.6, 25.6)
New Mexico27.1(25.9, 28.3)
New York23.6(22.0, 25.1)
North Carolina29.6(28.5, 30.7)
North Dakota29.7(27.9, 31.4)
Ohio30.1(29.0, 31.2)
Oklahoma32.2(30.8, 33.6)
Oregon27.3(25.7, 29.0)
Pennsylvania29.1(28.1, 30.1)
Rhode Island25.7(24.1, 27.4)
South Carolina31.6(30.4, 32.8)
South Dakota28.1(26.5, 29.8)
Tennessee31.1(29.6, 32.7)
Texas29.2(27.8, 30.5)
Utah24.3(23.3, 25.3)
Vermont23.7(22.3, 25.1)
Virginia27.4(26.0, 28.7)
Washington26.8(25.8, 27.8)
West Virginia33.8(32.2, 35.4)
Wisconsin29.7(27.8, 31.6)
Wyoming24.6(22.8, 26.4)

 

The History of State Obesity Prevalence

  • There was a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States from 1990 through 2010.
  • State prevalences prior to 2011 is provided for historical information only.  Historical rates should not be compared to rates from 2011 and forward due to changes in survey methods.
  • No state met the nation's Healthy People 2010 goal to lower obesity prevalence to 15%. Rather, in 2010, there were 12 states with an obesity prevalence of 30%. In 2000, no state had an obesity prevalence of 30% or more. [Read article]
  • The animated map below shows the history of United States obesity prevalence from 1985 through 2010.

Percent of Obese (BMI >30) in U.S. Adults
<previous next> play stop
Obesity map. For data, see PowerPoint or PDF linked above.

2010 State Obesity Rates
State%State%State%State%
Alabama32.2Illinois28.2Montana23.0Rhode Island25.5
Alaska24.5Indiana29.6Nebraska26.9South Carolina31.5
Arizona24.3Iowa28.4Nevada22.4South Dakota27.3
Arkansas30.1Kansas29.4New Hampshire25.0Tennessee30.8
California24.0Kentucky31.3New Jersey23.8Texas31.0
Colorado21.0Louisiana31.0New Mexico25.1Utah22.5
Connecticut22.5Maine26.8New York23.9Vermont23.2
Delaware28.0Maryland27.1North Carolina27.8Virginia26.0
District of Columbia22.2Massachusetts23.0North Dakota27.2Washington25.5
Florida26.6Michigan30.9Ohio29.2West Virginia32.5
Georgia29.6Minnesota24.8Oklahoma30.4Wisconsin26.3
Hawaii22.7Mississippi34.0Oregon26.8Wyoming25.1
Idaho26.5Missouri30.5Pennsylvania28.6

 

Download the 2012 State Adult Obesity Map

The state adult obesity prevalences for 2011 and 2012 are depicted in a  Powerpoint slide presentation format. (8 slides total, PPT-622Kb)

This is also available as a text-only Acrobat file [PDF - 668Kb].

Changed System, New Baseline

Like all public health surveillance systems, BRFSS must occasionally change its methods to adapt to the changing world and to maintain validity.  The improvement changes to the BRFSS affect obesity prevalence estimates, and mean that estimates from data collected in 2010 and before cannot be compared estimates from data collected in 2011 and forward. Learn more about the changes to the BRFSS.

Download the Historical Maps

The history of the increase in state obesity prevalence is depicted in a PowerPoint slide presentation format. (31 slides total, PPT-3Mb). Estimates of obesity prevalence from 2011 forward cannot be compared to estimates from previous years.

This is also available as a text-only Acrobat file [PDF-472k].

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