Prevalence of obesity falls slightly in Iowa

~by Polly Carver-Kimm for the Iowa Department of Public Health 

CDC data released Aug. 31 show the proportion of Iowa adults with obesity has fallen slightly, from 32.1 percent in 2015 to 32.0 percent in 2016. Of the 54 U.S. states and territories included in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) report, Iowa is one of 16 that showed a decline in self-reported obesity.

“The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) works closely with target communities, worksites, schools and early childhood programs to make healthy behaviors easier and more convenient,” said IDPH community health consultant Erin Olson. A number of toolkits have been developed and are provided free of charge to organizations and individuals exploring the possibilities for making their communities healthier places to live and work.”

The South had the highest average prevalence of obesity in the U.S. (32.0 percent), followed by the Midwest (31.4 percent), the Northeast (26.9 percent) and the West (26.0 percent). Adults with more education were less likely to report being obese and adults without a high school degree had the highest self-reported obesity.

Obesity puts Iowans at risk for serious chronic diseases and health conditions, including:
• Type 2 diabetes
• Cardiovascular disease
• Certain cancers
• Poorer mental health
• Infertility and problems with pregnancy

In addition, obesity negatively affects worker productivity, health care costs and the ability to serve in the military.
CDC adult obesity prevalence maps are available at To see Iowa BRFSS reports, visit

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