Complete Indicator Profile of Obesity - Adults (18+) (HA2020 Leading Health Indicator: 4B)
DefinitionPercentage of adults aged 18 years and older who have a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30.0 kg/m2 calculated from self-reported weight and height. BMI is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by the square of height in meters.
NumeratorNumber of adults aged 18 years and older who have a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30.0 kg/m2 calculated from self-reported weight and height. Excludes pregnant women and biologically implausible values.
DenominatorNumber of adults aged 18 years and older for whom BMI can be calculated from their self-reported weight and height (excludes unknowns, refusals for weight and/or height, pregnant women, and biologically implausible values).
Why Is This Important?Obesity has become a major health problem for Alaskans and Americans. About a third of the adult population is now obese and an additional one-third is overweight. Obesity is expensive. It is estimated medical complications of obesity cost Alaska's economy $477 million a year in direct medical expenditures (E.A. Finkelstein, personal communication, July 2009). The spread of the obesity epidemic has been equally, if not more, severe among children and adolescents. Since 1980, the national overweight and obesity rates have tripled for youth, with 34% of two to 19 year olds above a normal weight (above the 85th percentile). Overweight and obesity are determined by calculating Body Mass Index (BMI) from a person's weight and height. BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and it is used to screen for weight categories that increases the risk of health problems. The impact of the obesity epidemic is reflected in the nation's concurrent epidemics of diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic diseases, and has even lead to the projection that, due to obesity, today's children may be the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents' generation.
Overweight and obesity affect a large proportion of the Alaska population and there has been an increase in the number of obese persons over the last decade. Many diseases and adverse health outcomes are associated with overweight and obesity, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, and some types of cancer. In addition to genetic factors, an unhealthy diet and a lack of physical activity are both key contributors to rising obesity rates. It has been projected that, due to obesity, today's children may be the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
1. Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Ogden CL, Curtin LR. Prevalence and trends in obesity among US adults, 1999-2008. JAMA. 2010 Jan 20;303(3):235-41.
2. Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Curtin LR, Lamb MM, Flegal KM. Prevalence of high body mass index in US children and adolescents, 2007-2008. JAMA. 2010 Jan 20;303(3):242-9.
3. Olshansky SJ, Passaro DJ, Hershow RC et al. A potential decline in life expectancy in the United States in the 21st century. NEJM 2005;352(11):1138-45.
Healthy People Objective NWS-9:Reduce the proportion of adults who are obese
U.S. Target: 30.6 percent
State Target: Healthy Alaskans 2020 target: 27%
Other ObjectivesThe Healthy Alaskans 2010 target for adult obesity prevalence of 18% was not met.
How Are We Doing?The percentage of Alaska adults who are obese has steadily increased over the past 2 decades, doubling between 1991 (13%) and 2010 (29%).
The Healthy Alaskans 2010 target for adult obesity prevalence was 18% or lower. Adult obesity prevalence has increased steadily from a baseline of 20% in 1999 to its current level of 29% in 2010. The Healthy Alaskans 2010 target of 18% was not met.
The prevalence of obesity is higher for Alaska Natives/American Indians (31%) than White Alaskans (25%). Those living in rural Alaska (30%) are more likely to be obese than those in other regions of the states (25-26%). Women with low household incomes and with less than a high school education are more likely to be obese. (Source: 2009 BRFSS) Additional statistics on obesity burden are available at: http://www.hss.state.ak.us/dph/chronic/obesity/resources.htm.
How Do We Compare With U.S.?The Alaska adult obesity rate has paralleled the increase seen in adult obesity prevalence nationwide.
What Is Being Done?In collaboration with partners statewide, the Obesity Prevention and Control Program provides professional development opportunities and technical assistance to school teachers and staff on evidence-based obesity prevention strategies appropriate for the school environment. The program also provides important surveillance data and publishes reports on the behaviors and risk factors that contribute to obesity to help community coalitions and partners identify and track health problems, and evaluate the effectiveness of obesity prevention efforts. Additional information on current efforts to prevent obesity in Alaska is available at: http://www.hss.state.ak.us/dph/chronic/obesity/.
Related Relevant Population Characteristics Indicator Profiles:
Related Health Care System Factors Indicator Profiles:
Related Risk Factors Indicator Profiles:
Related Health Status Outcomes Indicator Profiles:
Graphical Data Views
Percentage of adults (18) who were obese (BMI >= 30.0), all Alaskans, Alaska Natives, and U.S., 1991-2020
Data NotesHealthy Alaskans 2020 target: 27%
Post-stratification weights were used for Alaska prior to 2006; raking weights were used from 2007 onward. For more on this methodological change see: http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Chronic/Pages/brfss/method.aspx.
Alaska data were obtained from the Standard AK BRFSS from 1991 through 2003, and from the Standard and Supplemental AK BRFSS surveys combined from 2004 onward. The Supplemental BRFSS survey is conducted using identical methodology as the Standard BRFSS and allows a doubling of the BRFSS sample size for those measures included on both surveys.
References and Community ResourcesResources:
The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion provides consumer information at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/
NHLBI Obesity Education Initiative at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/oei/
The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight & Obesity at http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/obesity
Let's Move, America's Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids at www.letsmove.gov
More information on the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System may be found on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - http://www.cdc.gov/brfss/
More Resources and LinksAlaska and national goals may be found at the following sites:
Maps of health indicators for various subdivisions of Alaska may be found at the following site:
Evidence-based community health improvement ideas and interventions may be found at the following sites:
Additional indicator data by state and county may be found on these Websites:
Medical literature can be queried at the PubMed website.
For an on-line medical dictionary, click on this Dictionary link.
Page Content Updated On 08/01/2014, Published on 08/01/2014