myplate_blue[1]The numbers are in and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 20% or more of the United States adult population is obese in each state. This data was collected during the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System that involves health-related telephone surveys. It has long been discussed in our society that obesity is a growing concern for our population. Many initiatives have been developed to address this issue, such as MyPlate and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Yet, we still fail to take this to heart.

Obesity has been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. All of these can be linked to premature death. And yet, we still pick up those forks and stay off our feet. Even worse, we set a poor example for our children. Many people operate under the assumption that “it does not apply to me,” but it does. The definition of obesity is having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. The BMI is calculated using your weight in kilograms and dividing this by your height in meters squared. Thankfully, the CDC is one of many sources that has a BMI calculator online to make it simple. The first step is to determine your BMI using one of these calculators, and then to understand what that number represents. The following chart from the CDC explains the results for adults.

The standard weight status categories associated with BMI ranges for adults are shown in the following table:

BMI Weight Status

Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 Normal or Healthy Weight
25.0 – 29.9 Overweight
30.0 and Above Obese

Next, take this information and act on it. If you have health concerns, see your physician. If you are sedentary, start taking a daily walk or bike ride. Review your personal eating habits and compare it to the MyPlate healthy eating guidelines. MyPlate has online tools that can make meal planning easy and help you track your calories and exercise. Can you make some small changes to improve your dietary intake? Small steps can lead to big changes over time. Modeling these behaviors can not only improve your health and well-being, but the positive changes can impact your children or loved ones as well. Share your goals and seek the support of friends and family. Most importantly, teens and children’s BMI results are interpreted differently. Talk with your child’s physician regarding any weight concerns and dietary guidelines.

Take care of yourself today, set a positive example for those you care about, and put the fork down and get on your feet!


Marie Arick