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Health Indicator Report of Obesity - Adult Prevalence

Obesity is associated with an increased risk for a number of chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers (endometrial, colon, kidney, esophageal, and post-menopausal breast cancer.) 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 Among Adults by County, New Mexico 2011-2013

Quartile Map of Percentage of Adults Who Were Obese by County, 2008-2010

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A "Quartile" map assigns areas to four groups. Each group includes the SAME NUMBER of areas. Group membership and map color are based on the rank order of area rates, from the lowest rate to the highest. The bottom 25% (bottom quartile) of areas has the lowest rates, the next 25% has the second lowest rates, the next 25% has the second highest rates and the top 25% of areas has the highest rates. Areas with the darkest color have the highest rates. Percentile maps such as this assign areas to different groups regardless of how close the rates actually are. In other words, just because two areas are in different groups doesn't necessarily mean that their rates are significantly different. For small area background information and reference maps, please visit:


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.   U.S. value is 2009. U.S. value is the median percentage across participating States and the District of Columbia (DC). **Note: Percentages based on fewer than 50 completed surveys are not shown because they do not meet the DOH standard for data release. For 2008-2010, De Baca, and Harding counties did not meet the DOH small numbers rule. The county-level BRFSS data used for this indicator were weighted to be representative of the New Mexico Health Region populations. Had the data been weighted to be representative of each county population, the results would likely have been different.

Data Source

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.

Data Interpretation Issues

These data are from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an ongoing survey of adults regarding their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services. Data are collected in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. The survey is conducted using scientific telephone survey methods for landline and cellular phones (landline only from 1986 through 2010; landline and cellular since 2011). The landline phone portion of the survey excludes adults living in group quarters such as college dormitories, nursing homes, military barracks, and prisons. The cellular phone portion of the survey includes adult students living in college dormitories but excludes other group quarters. Beginning with 2011, the BRFSS updated its surveillance methods by adding in calls to cell phones and changing its weighting methods. These changes improve BRFSS' ability to take into account the increasing proportion of U.S. adults using only cellular telephones as well as to adjust survey data to improve the representativeness of the estimates generated from the survey. Results have been adjusted for the probability of selection of the respondent, and have been weighted to the adult population by age, gender, phone type, detailed race/ethnicity, renter/owner, education, marital status, and geographic area. Lastly and importantly, these changes mean that the data from years prior to 2011 are not directly comparable to data from 2011 and beyond. The "missing" and "don?t know" responses are removed before calculating a percentage. When the data shown are about a specific sub-population, only respondents of that sub-population are included in the denominator.


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.


Number of obese adults from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.


Number of adults from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

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

U.S. Target: 30.6 percent

How Are We Doing?

Mirroring national trends, New Mexico's rate of obesity continues to climb.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

New Mexico's percent is consistently equal to or slightly below the national median percent of obese adult over the past decade.

What Is Being Done?

-The New Mexico Healthier Weight Council is implementing the New Mexico Plan to Promote Healthier Weight: 2006-2015. Over 90 council members represent diverse organizations statewide. -The New Mexico Interagency for the Prevention of Obesity is conducting obesity prevention efforts at both the state and community levels, in collaboration with partners in Las Cruces and statewide advocacy groups. Interagency members represent 40 state programs across eight state departments. -The Clinical Prevention Initiative Healthier Weight Workgroup has produced a toolkit using materials that were carefully developed, adapted or borrowed to support NM health care providers in promoting healthier weight with their adult patients. Workgroup members are currently training healthcare professionals on how to best utilize the materials in their day-to-day practice. The culturally and linguistically relevant materials are founded on the evidence-based National Institutes of Health "Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults." -Materials prepared for the Albuquerque Prescription Trails Pilot Program are designed for healthcare providers to write prescriptions for walking and wheelchair rolling. A guide includes routes in the community by zip code. -Action Communities for Health, Innovation and Environmental Change is focused on creating healthier environments and policies to address poor nutrition, physical inactivity, tobacco use, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease through collaborative partnerships between the Department of Health, YMCA of Central New Mexico, and allies in Albuquerque. -The national initiative, Fruits & Veggies - More Matters, is promoted statewide to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Substituting fruits and vegetables for foods high in fat and added sugars can be part of a successful weight management strategy.

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

Visit the New Mexico Healthier Weight Resource Directory:

Health Program Information

To access the New Mexico Plan to Promote Healthier Weight: 2006-2015, visit
Page Content Updated On 11/28/2014, Published on 01/09/2015
The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Thu, 03 September 2015 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Sat, 3 Jan 2015 13:18:24 MST