In 2011, rates of adult obesity remained high, with state estimates ranging from 20.7% in Colorado to 34.9% in Mississippi, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Twelve 12 states reported a prevalence of 30% or more. The South had the highest prevalence of adult obesity (29.5%), followed by the Midwest (29%), the Northeast (25.3%), and the West (24.3%).
In 2011, CDC made several changes to its Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) that affect estimates of state-level adult obesity prevalence. First, there was an overall change in the BRFSS methodology, including the incorporation of cell phone-only households and a new weighting process. These changes in methodology were made to ensure that the sample better represents the population in each state. Second, to generate more accurate estimates of obesity prevalence, small changes were made to the criteria used to determine which respondents are included in the data analysis.
Because of these changes in methodology, estimates of obesity prevalence from 2011 forward cannot be compared to estimates from previous years. Data collected in 2011 will provide a new baseline for obesity prevalence data collected in subsequent years.