Obesity

Facts

  • Indiana has the third highest prevalence of obesity compared to the rest of the United States and Puerto Rico in the 1997 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey.
  • Weight- and fitness-related conditions are the second leading cause of death in the United States, resulting in about 300,000 lives lost each year.1. The Urban Institute, State-level Data Book on Health Care Access and Financing, 1993 2. Centers for Disease Control
  • Obesity is a risk factor for many chronic diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes.The Urban Institute, State-level Data Book on Health Care Access and Financing, 1993
  • Obesity is also linked with a number of psychological problems that can have a major impact on the mental health of overweight individuals.1. The Urban Institute, State-level Data Book on Health Care Access and Financing, 1993 2. Naranjo, Diana. Hispanic Women's Health Status. National Council of La Raza. Center for Health Promotion: November 1993
  • Data from the 1996 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System reveals that only 11% of the adult population participate in vigorous activity, 23% participate in regular physical activity, while 35% exercise irregularly and 31 % are inactive. The combination of the last two categories equals 66%, the population with a sedentary physical activity pattern.
  • Enrollment in physical education programs dropped from 65% in 1984 to 52% in 1990.1. The Urban Institute, State-level Data Book on Health Care Access and Financing, 1993 2. Naranjo, Diana. Hispanic Women's Health Status. National Council of La Raza. Center for Health Promotion: November 1993
  • According to the 1997 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the prevalence of obesity peaked in the 45-54 age group.

Figure 18: Percent Considered Obese by Age Group: Indiana Adults Age 18 and older: 1997 BRFSS

Percent Considered Obese by Age Group

Who Is At Risk?

  • According to the 1997 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 20% of Indiana women aged 18 and older are obese.

  • Patterns by race show that African-Americans tend to be more obese than whites in Indiana.

Figure 19: Obesity Patterns by Sex and Race Indiana Adults Age 18 and Older: 1997 BRFSS

Obesity Patterns by Sex and Race

Actions to Decrease the Risk of Obesity

  1. Educate women on the development of life-long healthy eating habits that provide adequate nutrition and avoid excesses that lead to overweight and related conditions.

  2. Promote healthy food in the marketplace to help ensure their continued availability.

  3. Encourage long-term weight management rather than diets that lead to weight cycling with its attendant physical and psychological problems. (The National Institutes of Health guidelines include dietary therapy, altering physical activity patterns, behavior modification and may include physician monitored pharmacotherapy with FDA-approved drugs for long-term therapy.)

  4. Emphasize the importance of moderate to intense physical activity.

  5. Expand research and public education efforts into the prevention, causes, and treatment of obesity.

 

Healthy People 2000 Target/Indiana's Progress

  • Reduce obesity to a prevalence of no more than 20% among people aged 20 and older and no more than 15% among adolescents aged 12-19.

  • Increase the amount of physical activity by at least 20% in people in Indiana aged 18 and older and by at least 75% in children and adolescents aged 6-17.

  • Reduce to no more than 15% the proportion of people in Indiana aged 6 and older who engage in no leisure-time physical activity.

Figure 20 Physical Activity Levels: Indiana Adults Age 18 and Older: 1996 BRFSS

Physical Activity Levels

Combining the Inactive and Irregular Activity categories equals what was formerly classified as sedentary lifestyle. Sedentary lifestyle was defined as less than 20 minutes of physical activity per session and/or less than 3 times per week of activity during the month prior to the Survey. The Inactive category is representative of no leisure-time physical activity.

 

For More Information

Human Nutrition Information Service
Provides information and distributes materials
310-436-8498
Purdue University Cooperation Extention Service
Provides programs in most counties on nutrition and physical activity
317-482-0750