News Bite: CDC Releases New Obesity Prevalence Report

Obesity prevention has emerged as one of public health’s top priorities. Today, nearly 40% of American adults aged 40 to 59 are obese. It is difficult to explain this growth in obesity, as many factors may be contributing to this outcome. However, it is important to understand what may be contributing to higher levels of obesity in the U.S. compared to other developed countries. More importantly, it is essential that strategies to successfully address obesity be identified in the U.S. A recent report from CDC focused on this conundrum. 

On September 4, 2014, the CDC released its latest state obesity prevalence report for the U.S. The map is based on the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). According to the report, obesity rates remain high across the country. Colorado has the lowest prevalence of obesity, at just under 21 percent, and Mississippi was highest, at nearly 36 percent.  Combined data from 2011 through 2013 showed non-Hispanic blacks had the highest prevalence of self-reported obesity, followed by Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites. The highest prevalence of obesity by region is in the South, followed by the Northeast and West. 

According to the report, adult obesity rates remained high overall. Data from the BRFSS, as well as from other data sets, such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), indicate that obesity continues to be a major public health problem. The good news is that public health agencies can use this reliable data on population health status to guide prevention efforts, focusing on those populations showing the highest prevalence in order to help bring about positive change.

For more information on the report, visit

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