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Home  >  Public Health Issues  >  Obesity

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In 2005, almost one in four American adults was obese. Obesity was even more prevalent among Hispanic and black adults, at 26.5 percent and 33.9 percent respectively.  Moreover, the percentage of overweight young people has more than tripled since 1980. This growing epidemic has many causes, primary among them being physical inactivity and unhealthy eating.

Overweight and obesity contribute to numerous health problems such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, breathing problems, osteoarthritis and depression.  The annual estimated cost of obesity to the United States was about $139 billion in 2003. The health costs associated with overweight and obesity now exceed those associated with tobacco use.

State legislators nationwide are actively pursuing solutions to America's obesity epidemic.  While weight is greatly affected by individual behaviors, effective solutions require the combined efforts of policymakers and stakeholders throughout our communities.  Schools, health care and insurance providers, representatives of agriculture and food industries, and businesses and employers are all working to confront the obesity epidemic and its effects. 


Obesity Publications

These publications are designed to provide state legislators with concise, up-to-date information on obesity.

2-page Talking Points (TP), 10-15 page Briefs (LPB), and 25-page Tool Kits (Kit) 



CDC Community Health Resources

Learn more about obesity prevention in CDC's Community Health Resources, including fact sheets, state and local program contacts, communication materials and state data.

Healthy States Policy Academy on the Prevention of Childhood Obesity

To find out more about preventing childhood obesity, click the link above to view resources and slides from the panelists at our July 2007 policy academy in Hilton Head, S.C.

F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America 2007

Thirty-one states had higher adult obesity rates over the past year, according to a new report from the Trust for America's Health. The report offers a series of recommendations for addressing the obesity issue and its health impact at all levels, including a 20-step action plan to address the epidemic's health burden and financial costs. 

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