(Santa Fe) – The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) announced today data released by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show the state’s adult obesity rate increased minimally in 2015.
The rate of adults in New Mexico identifying themselves as obese in 2015 was 28.8 percent, up from 28.4 percent in 2014, making New Mexico among 23 states along with the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico all reporting a prevalence of obesity between 25 and 30 percent.
Overall, the proportion of obese adults in the United States remains high, with every state in the country having more than 1 in 5 adults (20 percent) that are obese. Estimates vary across states, ranging from 20.2 percent in Colorado to 36.2 percent in Louisiana. The state- and territory-specific data on adult obesity prevalence uses self-reported information from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).
“While the good news is that obesity rates in New Mexican adults have not dramatically increased over the past year, we know that many, many New Mexicans are struggling with serious health effects related to excess weight,” said Department of Health Secretary Gallagher. “The Department of Health will continue its efforts to help residents – young and old – to live, work, learn and play in communities that support healthy lifestyles.”
Obesity is defined by the CDC as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, and people who have obesity, compared to those with a normal or healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and even some forms of cancer.
NMDOH’s Healthy Kids Healthy Communities program and its partners have made terrific gains in recent years combating childhood obesity rates in the state, reporting a 20 percent decrease in childhood obesity among New Mexico third graders since 2010.
“Reaching young people in their classrooms has made a tremendous difference in educating the children on how to make healthier food choices, and those children have been passing that information on to their families” said Healthy Kids Healthy Communities Coordinator Rita Condon.
Healthy Kids works with community partners across the state to increase physical activity opportunities for kids and adults alike via multiple strategies across multiple settings and sectors. Efforts include working to increase in the number of walking trails around the state and encouraging communities to design local streets and roadways that are safe for walkers and other road users. Some school districts around the state allow community residents to use local school tracks or gyms after classes have finished.
To view the latest CDC obesity data visit http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/prevalence-maps.html. Additional obesity information and Healthy Kids New Mexico can be found at www.NMHealth.org.