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PHOM Indicator Profile Report of Obesity Among Adults

Why Is This Important?

Adults who are obese are at increased risk of morbidity from hypertension, high LDL cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and osteoarthritis. Together, overweight and obesity make up the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Overweight and obesity: a major public health issue. Prevention Report 2001;16]. Only smoking may exceed obesity in contributing to total U.S. mortality rates.

Adult Obesity, Utah and U.S., 1989-2016

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confidence limits
Obesity in the U.S. and in Utah continue to increase, although rates in Utah may be beginning to level off.

Data Sources

  • U.S. Data: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), Division of Behavioral Surveillance, CDC Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services
  • Utah Data: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Office of Public Health Assessment, Utah Department of Health

Data Notes

Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or more. BMI is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by the square of height in meters. In 2016, Utah BRFSS modified its methodology for age adjustment to align with U.S. age adjustment. Data has been updated from 2011 onward in all chart views to reflect this modification.   [[br]] [[br]] Age-adjusted to U.S. 2000 standard population. [[br]] U.S. data does not include U.S. territories, but does include Dist. of Columbia. [[br]] Beginning in 2011, BRFSS data include both landline and cell phone respondent data along with a new weighting methodology called iterative proportional fitting, or raking. Comparisons between 2011 and prior years should be made with caution. More details about these changes can be found at: [].

Risk Factors

Genetic or familial factors may increase the risk for being obese for some people, but anyone whose calorie intake exceeds the number of calories burned is at risk. Physical activity and a healthy diet are both important for obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight. Adults who are obese are at increased risk of morbidity from hypertension, elevated LDL cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, and endometrial, breast, prostate, and colon cancers.

How Are We Doing?

According to a recent report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Utah has the sixth lowest adult obesity rate in the nation (see [] ''The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America'', August 2017). Over the past 16 years, the age-adjusted proportion of Utah adults who were obese has increased dramatically, from 19.5% in 2000 to 26.2% in 2016. While the sampling method changed in 2011, this change was still similarly pronounced in the years immediately prior to 2011. The highest rates of obesity were seen for adults ages 50 to 64. Age-adjusted rates are used to compare rates for race and local health districts to account for the differences in ages. In 2016, the Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and the American Indian/Alaskan Native populations had significantly higher rates than the state. An estimated 32.3 percent of Hispanic/Latino adults were obese, compared to 25.6% of non-Hispanic/Latino adults.

What Is Being Done?

In 2013, 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. EPICC works on Environmental Approaches that Promote Health. EPICC works: In Schools:[[br]] 1) Schools are encouraged to adopt the Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program. This framework encourages students to be physically active for 60 minutes a day through school, home and community activities.[[br]] 2) Height and weight trends are being tracked in a sample of elementary students to monitor Utah students.[[br]] 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:[[br]] 1) The Utah Council for Worksite Health Promotion recognizes businesses that offer employee fitness and health promotion programs.[[br]] 2) EPICC partners with local health departments to encourage worksites to complete the CDC Scorecard and participate in yearly health risk assessment for their employees. EPICC provides toolkits and other resources for employers interested in implementing wellness programs through the [] website: [] -- In Communities:[[br]] 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. In Healthcare:[[br]] 1) EPICC works with health care systems to establish community clinical linkages to support individuals at risk for or diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension to engage in lifestyle change programs such as chronic disease self-management and diabetes prevention programs. In Childcare:[[br]] 1) Nine local health departments statewide have implemented the TOP Star program, which aims to improve the nutrition and physical activity environments and achieve best practice in child care centers and homes.[[br]] 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.

Healthy People Objective: Reduce the proportion of adults who are obese

U.S. Target: 30.5 percent
State Target: 24.0 percent

Date Indicator Content Last Updated: 01/29/2018

Other Views

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 Tue, 23 October 2018 13:11:43 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Tue, 2 Oct 2018 09:37:55 MDT