Last Updated: August 2019
Author: Physical Activity & Nutrition Program, Vermont Department of Health
In 2016, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data showed that 28% of Vermont adults age 20 and older are obese. This is higher than in 2015, when the prevalence was 23%, however the difference is not statistically significant. We know that obesity prevalence rises with age, and that adults with a high school education or less and a lower income are more likely to be obese.
While we do not know specific causes of this recent rise, we have seen the rate for adults meeting physical activity guidelines stagnate in recent years, at 59%. Additionally, of concern is that the rate of fruit consumption among adults has been on the decline, with 32% of adults eating two or more fruits a day in 2015, down from 35% in 2013. On a positive note, 20% of adults reported eating three or more vegetables a day in 2015, up from 18% in 2013.
Obesity is a major health concern due to its connection to many chronic diseases. Heart disease, diabetes and many forms of cancer are linked to obesity. In Vermont, we see high rates of these diseases and see the linkage between health behaviors such as getting the recommended amount of physical activity and eating a healthy diet (as well as tobacco use). Together with lung disease, these chronic diseases are the cause of 57% of deaths in Vermont. This has led us to organizing our work to highlight these preventable diseases through 3-4-50 (see Strategies below for more information).