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Health Indicator Report of Overweight or Obese

Being overweight increases the risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and some cancers. Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.(1) Utahns have been gaining weight so rapidly that in 2013 almost two-thirds (60.6%) of all adults were overweight or obese (age-adjusted rate). The obesity epidemic among Utahns threatens to reverse the decades-long progress made in reducing death from chronic disease.

Overweight or Obese by Ethnicity, Utah, 2013


Overweight or obese is defined as a BMI of 25 or more. BMI is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by the square of height in meters.   [[br]] [[br]] Age-adjusted to U.S. 2000 standard population.

Data Source

Utah Data: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Office of Public Health Assessment, Utah Department of Health

Data Interpretation Issues

Respondents tend to overestimate their height and underestimate their weight leading to underestimation of BMI and the prevalence of obesity. To reduce bias and more accurately represent population data, the BRFSS has changed survey methodology. In 2010, it began conducting surveys by cellular phone in addition to landline phones. It also adopted "iterative proportional fitting" (raking) as its weighting method. More details about these changes can be found at:


The proportion of persons age 18 years and older who have a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25.0 kg/m2 calculated from self-reported weight and height.


The number of respondents age 18 years and older who have a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25.0 kg/m2 calculated from self-reported weight and height.


The number of respondents age 18 years and older for whom BMI can be calculated from their self-reported weight and height (excludes unknowns or refusals for weight and height).

Healthy People Objective NWS-8:

Increase the proportion of adults who are at a healthy weight
U.S. Target: 33.9 percent

Other Objectives

Utah's 42 Community Health Indicators CSTE Chronic Disease Indicators

How Are We Doing?

The percentage of adults who were overweight or obese increased steadily in Utah and the U.S. in the last decade. In Utah, the percentage of overweight or obese individuals increased from 39.3% in 1989 to 60.6% in 2013. While the sampling method changed for 2011 data, this change was still similarly pronounced in the years immediately prior.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

The percentage of overweight or obese Utahns is approaching the percentage of overweight or obese U.S. adults (2013: Utah - 60.6%, U.S. - 63.5%).

What Is Being Done?

Through funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the Healthy Living through Environment, Policy, and Improved Clinical Care Program (EPICC) was established from the consolidation of three programs (Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program, and the Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity Program) and the addition of one (School Health). This consolidation was designed to assist in the coordination of activities to ensure a productive, collaborative, and efficient program focused on health outcomes. The program aims to reduce the incidence of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke by targeting risk factors including reducing obesity, increasing physical activity and nutritious food consumption, and improving diabetes and hypertension control. Housed within the EPICC Program, the Utah Physical Activity and Nutrition Plan (U-PAN) 2010-2020 plan was released April 2010 and addresses the six areas of focus including 1) increase physical activity; 2) increase consumption of fruits and vegetables; 3) decrease the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages; 4) increase breastfeeding initiation, duration, and exclusivity; 5) reduce the consumption of high energy dense foods; and 6) decrease television viewing. Implementation of the plan is accomplished through five workgroups: Schools, Childcare, Healthcare, Worksite, and Community. One of EPICC's partners, Utah Partnership for Healthy Weight, a non-profit organization, is focused on bringing informational and financial resources not readily available to state health departments to obesity prevention efforts in Utah. The Partnership works to coordinate the many ongoing and future initiatives within Utah's communities. UDOH staff attend regular meetings of the Partnership and also serve as Partnership board members. Currently, activities are occurring in five main areas: In Schools: (1) The USDA's HealthierUS Challenge helps elementary schools set up policy and environmental supports that make it easier for students and staff to be physically active and eat healthy food. (2) Height and weight trends are being tracked in a sample of elementary students to monitor Utah students. (3) Action for Healthy Kids brings partners together to improve nutrition and physical activity environments in Utah's schools by implementing the school-based state plan strategies, working with local school boards to improve or develop policies for nutritious foods in schools. This includes recommendations for healthy vending options. In Worksites: (1) The Utah Council for Worksite Health Promotion recognizes businesses that offer employee fitness and health promotion programs. (2) The U-PAN worksite workgroup provides toolkits and other resources for employers interested in implementing wellness programs through the website: In the Community: (1) Local health departments (LHDs) receive federal funding to partner with schools, worksites, and other community based organizations to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables through farmers markets and retail stores. LHDs also work with cities within their jurisdictions to create a built environment that encourages physical activity. (2) The EPICC program leads a statewide coalition to implement strategies within the U-PAN state plan. In Healthcare: (1) The Utah Medical Association's Healthy Lifestyles workgroup also serves as the U-PAN Healthcare workgroup. They work to address objectives of the U-PAN State Plan. (2) Several of the U-PAN Healthcare Workgroup objectives involve regularly assessing and counseling for physical activity during patient visits. (3) The EPICC program works with health care systems to establish community clinical linkages to support individuals at risk for or diagnosed with diabetes to engage in lifestyle change programs such as chronic disease self-management. In Childcare: (1) LHDs statewide are implementing the TOP Star program, which aims to improve the nutrition and physical activity environments and achieve best practice in child care centers and homes. (2) EPICC works with state and local partners through the Childcare Obesity Prevention workgroup to implement policy and systems changes in early care and education across agencies statewide.

Evidence-based Practices

The EPICC program promotes evidence based practices collected by the Center TRT. The Center for Training and Research Translation (Center TRT) bridges the gap between research and practice and supports the efforts of public health practitioners working in nutrition, physical activity, and obesity prevention by: *Reviewing evidence of public health impact and disseminating population-level interventions; *Designing and providing practice-relevant training both in-person and web-based; *Addressing social determinants of health and health equity through training and translation efforts; and, *Providing guidance on evaluating policies and programs aimed at impacting healthy eating and physical activity. Appropriate evidence based interventions can be found at:

Available Services

The Utah Department of Health EPICC program's website located at Healthier US Schools Challenge--for more information, visit Action for Healthy Kids Program - for more information, visit
Page Content Updated On 10/31/2014, Published on 12/01/2014
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Thu, 08 October 2015 12:00:56 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Tue, 28 Jul 2015 19:46:18 MDT