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Adult obesity is on the increase


Adult obesity is on the increase

New Mexico is among 38 states with an obesity rate over 30%

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) reported today that New Mexico’s adult obesity rate has steadily increased over the past decade, following a national trend. According to NMDOH’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), obesity rates climbed from about 26% to 31% in the last decade. New Mexico is one of 38 US states and territories that currently report a rate of over 30%.

“Obesity rates in New Mexican adults have dramatically increased over the past 10 years and we know that many, many New Mexicans are struggling with serious health effects related to excess weight,” said Acting Department of Health Secretary, David R. Scrase, M. D. “The Department of Health will continue its efforts to help residents – young and old – to live, work, learn and play in communities that support healthy lifestyles.” 

Obesity is defined by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) as having a body mass index of 30 or higher. People experiencing obesity, compared to those with a healthy body weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and even some forms of cancer. Obesity is also a serious comorbidity with potentially severe outcomes associated with COVID 19. 

In New Mexico, over a third (38.9%) of adults aged 45-65 are obese. To address this public health issue, NMDOH has implemented multiple strategies to increase awareness, including providing educational materials on healthy diet and physical activity to help adults manage chronic conditions. The Obesity, Nutrition, and Physical Activity (ONAPA) program collaborates with community partners on healthy lifestyle behaviors in young children through healthy eating, physical activity, and providing information to families on ways to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors at home. ONAPA also has a contract with a Native American professional chef to provide training on healthy meal preparation using indigenous ingredients for senior and elder center nutrition providers. 

Factors which can contribute to obesity include smoking, alcohol use, and inadequate physical activity. For the full 2020 NM BRFSS annual report and tips on how to lead a healthier lifestyle, please visit the New Mexico Department of Health’s websites: ;Paths to Health NM: Tools for Healthier Living.  

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Aumenta la obesidad en los adultos