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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Obesity Trends among US Adults between 1985 and 2004


Obesity: having a very high amount of body fat in relation to lean body mass, or a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher.

Body Mass Index (BMI): a measure of an adult's weight in relation to his or her height, specifically the adult's weight in kilograms divided by the square of his or her height in meters.

Source of data

The data shown in these maps were collected through CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Each year, state health departments use standard procedures to collect data through a series of monthly telephone interviews with US adults.

During the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States. In 1985 only a few states were participating in CDC's BRFSS and providing obesity data. In 1991, four states had obesity prevalence rates of 15-19 percent and no states had rates at or above 20 percent.

In 2004, 7 states had obesity prevalence rates of 15-19 percent; 33 states had rates of 20-24 percent; and 9 states had rates more than 25 percent.


Mokdad, A H, et al. JAMA 1999; 282:16.
___. JAMA 2001; 286:10.
___. JAMA 2003; 289:1.

PowerPoint or text-only (Adobe Acrobat) presentation of this data can be obtained here.


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