Nearly 30 percent of Rhode Islanders suffer from obesity, according to the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Though the Ocean State is only the 30th most-obese state, and slightly better than average (National average: 28.7%), the number of obese adults in the region and nation is alarming.
The latest CDC map detailing the prevalence of obesity for all U.S. states based on 2013 BRFSS data is now available at www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/prevalence-maps.html. Three additional maps demonstrate obesity prevalence by race/ethnicity for each state.
In 2013, prevalence of adults with obesity remained high based on self-reported height and weight, with state estimates ranging from 21.3 percent in Colorado to 35.1 percent in Mississippi and West Virginia. Seven states - California, Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, Utah, and Vermont – and the District of Columbia had an obesity prevalence of less than 25 percent. Twenty 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 had an obesity prevalence of 30 percent or more. The highest prevalence of obesity was in the South (30.2 percent) and the Midwest (30.1 percent) followed by the Northeast (26.5 percent) and the West (24.9 percent).
Based on BRFSS data combined from 2011 through 2013, non-Hispanic blacks had the highest prevalence of self-reported obesity (37.6 percent), followed by Hispanics (30.6 percent) and non-Hispanic whites (26.6 percent).
BRFSS is the nation’s state-based tracking system that collects self-reported information through telephone surveys from U.S. adults aged 18 and over about their health-related behaviors, chronic health conditions and use of preventive services. BRFSS collects data in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and three U.S. territories.
In 2011, several updates occurred with BRFSS that impact estimates of state-level adult obesity prevalence. Because of these changes in methodology, data collected in 2011 provided a new baseline for adult obesity prevalence by state. Estimates of adults with obesity from 2011 and forward cannot be compared to prevalence estimates from previous years.
BRFSS is one of several data sets that monitor rates of obesity in the United States. Data from the BRFSS, as well as from other data sets, including the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in which weight and height are measured, indicate that obesity continues to be a major public health problem.