Weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is described as overweight or obese. Nearly one out of four adults in Louisiana is considered obese. Louisiana ranks among the top ten states in the United States – many of which are in the south - for both adult and childhood obesity (2017).
However, Louisiana is not alone. Disease trends indicate that obesity is a national problem, contributing to poorer health, chronic disease and major causes of death.
Exercise and a healthy diet are important steps in combatting obesity. A good diet is more than just eating healthy portions of foods. It also means eating the right kinds of nutritious foods which contain essential vitamins and minerals. Together, diet and exercise play a role in the condition of obesity, but they may not fully explain it. Obesity is a complex condition which may be caused by a combination of factors, including environmental factors, or by factors we do not yet know or fully understand. Obesity also appears to play a role in other conditions. While the associations are unclear, obesity is often related to other poor health outcomes and chronic diseases.
More research into the potential contributing factors to obesity is needed. Considering obesity as it relates to environmental health and other health indicators may lead us to discover new ways to make positive changes in Louisiana health outcomes. One potential factor being researched is human exposure to natural or man-made environmental contaminants in air, water or food. Other factors include genetics, poverty, access to parks and green space, access to healthy foods, community safety, level of stress, mental health factors, access to health care, and other medical conditions such as diabetes.
To explore Adult Obesity data, click here.
Tracking Adult Obesity in Louisiana
The Adult Obesity measure on the Health Data Portal is the percent of the adult population ages 20 and older that has a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30. BMI is a unit represented as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. Although BMI is only a relative measure, it can be used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems. It is not a diagnostic of body fat, nor does it convey the health of an individual.
For a more detailed description of these measures, please see the Glossary of Terms.