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Obesity - Adult Prevalence

Summary Indicator Report Data View Options

Obesity Among Adults by County, New Mexico, 2017-2019

Obesity Among Adults by U.S. States, 2019

Why Is This Important?

Obesity is associated with an increased risk for a number of other chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and a number of cancers (endometrial, colon, kidney, esophageal, post-menopausal breast, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, stomach, ovary, thyroid, meningioma, and multiple myeloma.) In both New Mexico and the United States, the percentage of adults who are obese, based on telephone survey data, has more than doubled since 1990. Excess weight also contributes to the development of arthritis, a chronic disease that is the leading cause of disability amongst adults in the nation and the state. Obesity has been identified as a population health priority for the New Mexico Department of Health along with diabetes, substance misuse, and unintended teen pregnancy.


The adult obesity prevalence is reported as the percent of BRFSS respondents whose self-reported height and weight corresponds to a Body Mass Index (BMI) equal to or greater than 30.0. Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) equal to or greater than 30.0 kg/m2. BMI is calculated as: [[weight (in pounds) / [height (in inches)]2] x 703]. BMI is a measure of a person's weight in relationship to height. Obesity refers to excessive body fat. For most adults, BMI is strongly correlated with total body fat, and serves as a good surrogate measure for obesity.

Data Sources

  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, together with New Mexico Department of Health, Injury and Behavioral Epidemiology Bureau.
  • U.S. data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Prevalence and Trends Data.

How the Measure is Calculated

Numerator:Number of obese adults from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey.
Denominator:Number of adults from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey.

How Are We Doing?

After decades of climbing, New Mexico's overall rate of adult obesity has remained stable since 2014. However, certain groups of adults, such as American Indians, Hispanics, people who didn't graduate from high school, and people experiencing poverty, have significantly higher rates of obesity than some other groups. By age group, rates of obesity are higher for men and women in the 35 to 49 and 50 to 64 year age ranges than for those in older and younger age groups.

What Is Being Done?

- The New Mexico Department of Health's (DOH) Obesity, Nutrition and Physical Activity Program (ONAPA) collaborates with state and local partners to implement sustainable policy, systems and environmental obesity prevention strategies to support healthy eating and physical activity. Healthy Kids Healthy Communities (HKHC), ONAPA's key program, builds state and local partnerships to expand opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity for children and low-income adults where they live, learn, play, work, eat, and shop. HKHC coalitions in 11 counties and 3 tribal communities collaborate with over 600 state and local partners to create sustainable community change through a collective impact framework; key elements include a common agenda, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication, shared measurements, and active coalitions to support increased healthy eating, increased physical activity, and healthy weights. - With the addition of federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) funding in 2015, the ONAPA Program expanded its reach to the low-income adult population, specifically those participating in food assistance programs within tribal communities and high-poverty counties. ONAPA, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and NM State University are coordinating efforts to provide nutrition education through the implementation of food tastings and cooking demos for WIC recipients using WIC eligible foods, primarily fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Targeting women and children captures a majority of SNAP-eligible recipients, many of whom also receive WIC benefits, and provides an opportunity to reinforce and build upon nutrition and physical activity education strategies across multiple programs.

Evidence-based Practices

To help communities in this effort, CDC initiated the Common Community Measures for Obesity Prevention Project (the Measures Project). The objective of the Measures Project was to identify and recommend a set of strategies and associated measurements that communities and local governments can use to plan and monitor environmental and policy-level changes for obesity prevention. This report describes the expert panel process that was used to identify 24 recommended strategies for obesity prevention and a suggested measurement for each strategy that communities can use to assess performance and track progress over time. The 24 strategies are divided into six categories: 1) strategies to promote the availability of affordable healthy food and beverages), 2) strategies to support healthy food and beverage choices, 3) a strategy to encourage breastfeeding, 4) strategies to encourage physical activity or limit sedentary activity among children and youth, 5) strategies to create safe communities that support physical activity, and 6) a strategy to encourage communities to organize for change. For more information, please see Kahn, et al., Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity in the United States, [].

Available Services

- ONAPA (and HKHC) provides ongoing technical assistance on how to implement obesity prevention strategies that support healthy eating and physical activity in communities across New Mexico. - The Double Up Food Bucks Program allows SNAP participants to stretch their food dollars at 35 farmers' markets across the state that process SNAP transactions. This initiative improves fresh food access for nearly 400,000 SNAP participants in 18 counties and gives a boost to local economies by recirculating food dollars: [].

More Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity: [] NM Department of Healthy Obesity, Nutrition, and Physical Activity Program: USDA Food and Nutrition Service: [] Double Up Food Bucks - New Mexico: [] National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Obesity Education Initiative: [] National Cancer Institute: U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agriculture Library, Food and Nutrition Information Center: [] Laura Kettel Khan, PhD. Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity in the United States. CDC, MMWR July 24, 2009 / 58(RR07);1-26. [Online Access]

Health Program Information

NM Department of Healthy Obesity, Nutrition, and Physical Activity Program:

Indicator Data Last Updated On 04/15/2021, Published on 04/29/2021
Nutrition, Obesity and Physical Activity Program, Population and Community Health Bureau, Public Health Division, New Mexico Department of Health, Public Health Division, 5301 Central Ave. NE, Suite 800, Albuquerque, NM 87108, Telephone: (505) 841-5840. For inquiries, contact the Medical Director/Epidemiologist, Susan Baum, MD, MPH (email: