Living Well / Reducing Adult Obesity

Living Well / Reducing Adult Obesity2022-07-01T15:17:21-07:00

Reducing body mass index (BMI) by 5 percent could save California billions

If adult body mass index (BMI) were reduced by 5%, California could save $81.7 billion in obesity-related health care costs by 2030.1

Obesity increases the risk of many health conditions and contributes to some of the leading causes of preventable death, posing a major public health challenge.2 There are many factors that contribute to weight gain and ultimately to obesity. Inactivity, unhealthy diets, and eating behaviors are the most preventable. The rising rates of obesity are related to health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.2

Indicator Progress

In 2009 (baseline year), 22.7% of adults were obese. The most recent data available show 27.1% (2018). We hope to reach a target of 11.0% or lower by 2022.

More Data about Adult Obesity

Adult Obesity

Note: The data source has changed from the original LGHC 2012 Task Force Report as the original data source is no longer available.



Current Rate




Indicator Highlights

Disparities & Trends

Proportion of Adults Who are Obese, Over Time

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Proportion of Adults Who are Obese, by Demographic Category

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Proportion of Adults Who are Obese, by County

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Indicator: Percent of adults who are obese

Description: Indicators are from UCLA’s California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) Public Use File (PUF) and consequently their exploratory dashboard, AskCHIS. This variable is a construct based on height and weight questions (CHIS PUF Variable: RBMI, AskCHIS Variable: Body Mass Index – 4 level (adult only) ). Adults 18+ were asked “How tall are you without shoes?” and “(When not pregnant, ) how much do you weigh without shoes?”. The given height and weight were used to calculate BMI values and categorize by overweight (BMI≥25 but < 30) or obese (BMI ≥30).

Data Limitations: Asked of California’s residential population (adults, teens, and children), administered in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. This does not include those living in group quarters or homeless persons.

Indicator Source: UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research CHIS is an annual, population-based, omnibus health survey of California. It is the largest telephone survey in California and the largest state health survey in the country. Note that this indicator uses weighted data.

Data Sharing Agreement: Researchers can access a variety of publicly available CHIS data files and web tools. These CHIS data products include downloadable data sets and easy-to-read documents. In addition, local county health departments can request data files specific to their county. However, researchers can apply to analyze confidential CHIS data, data sensitive variables and/or geo-coded data through the CHIS Data Access Center (DAC). Access to confidential CHIS data requires a research application, review, and approval.

Indicator Calculation Methodology: Indicator constructed from responses to multiple survey questions. More information about “constructed variables” is available from the CHIS FAQs, available at

Data Collection Methodology:

Program URL Link:

Reporting Cycle: Annual Survey

Reporting Lag: 2 years

  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention . (2015, May 15). Body Mass Index. Retrieved November 17, 2015, from www.cdc.gov
  2. Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch. (2014). Obesity in California: The Weight of the State. California Department of Public Health. Weblink:
  3. Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program. (n.d.). Benefits of Breastfeeding. Retrieved November 15, 2015, from

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