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Important Facts for Obesity Among Adults


Percentage of respondents who have a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30.0 kg/m2 calculated from self-reported weight and height. BMI is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by the square of height in meters.


Number of respondents who have a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30.0 kg/m2 calculated from self-reported weight and height.


Number of adult respondents for whom BMI can be calculated from their self-reported weight and height (excludes unknowns or refusals for weight and height).

Data Interpretation Issues

Respondents tend to overestimate their height and underestimate their weight leading to underestimation of BMI and the prevalence of obesity. Data from the New Jersey Behavioral Risk Factor Survey are intended to represent non-institutionalized adults in households with telephones. Data are collected using a random sample of all possible telephone numbers. Prior to analysis, data are weighted to represent the population distribution of adults by age, sex, and "race"/ethnicity. As with all surveys, however, some residual bias may result from nonresponse (e.g., refusal to participate in the survey or to answer specific questions) and measurement error (e.g., social desirability or recall). Attempts are made to minimize such error by use of a strict calling protocol (up to 15 calls are made to reach each household), good questionnaire design, standardization of interviewer behavior, interviewer training, and frequent, on-site interviewer monitoring and supervision. Starting in 2011, BRFSS protocol requires that the NJBRFS incorporate a fixed quota of interviews from cell phone respondents along with a new weighting methodology called iterative proportional fitting or "raking". The new weighting methodology incorporates additional demographic information (such as education, race, and marital status) in the weighting process. These methodological changes were implemented to account for the underrepresentation of certain demographic groups in the land line sample (which resulted in part from the increasing number of U.S. households without land line phones). Comparisons between 2011 and prior years should therefore be made with caution. (More details about these changes can be found at

Why Is This Important?

Adults who are obese are at increased risk of morbidity from hypertension, high LDL cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and osteoarthritis.

Healthy People Objective: Reduce the proportion of adults who are obese

U.S. Target: 30.6 percent (age-adjusted)
State Target: 23.8 percent (age-adjusted)

Other Objectives

Healthy New Jersey 2020 Objective NF-1a: Prevent an increase in the proportion of the adult population aged 20 years and older that is obese. Targets are 23.8% for the total population, 22.4% among Whites, 32.5% among Blacks, 28.0% among Hispanics, and 11.0% among Asians.

How Are We Doing?

The age-adjusted proportion of obese New Jersey adults increased from 18.5% in 2000 to 25.7% in 2015.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

The age-adjusted prevalence of obesity among New Jersey adults is slightly lower than in the U.S. as a whole. In 2015, the obesity prevalence rate in New Jersey adults was 27.6%. The obesity prevalence for U.S. adults in 2015 was 29.3%.

What Is Being Done?

The New Jersey Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (NPAO) Program within the NJDOH Office of Nutrition and Fitness coordinates efforts to work with communities to develop, implement, and evaluate interventions that address behaviors related to increasing physical activity, breastfeeding initiation and duration, and the consumption of fruits and vegetables, and to decreasing the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and high-energy-dense foods, and to decrease television viewing.
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's NJSHAD web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Sat, 24 June 2017 9:54:22 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

Content updated: Fri, 16 Jun 2017 05:00:44 EDT