Survey: Southeastern Indiana’s Waistline Growing

Posted On June 14, 2017

By Mike Perleberg

(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – One in three adults in southeastern Indiana are obese, according to Interact for Health’s 2017 Community Health Status Survey.

The 33 percent adult obesity rate in southeastern Indiana – Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio, Ripley, and Switzerland counties – is up from 30 percent in the 2013 survey.

Defining Obesity

Weight ranges for being overweight and obese are calculated using the Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in pounds by height in inches squared, and then multiplying that result by 703. The 2017 Community Health Status Survey (CHSS) asked for height and weight during the survey, and BMI was calculated for each respondent. Overweight is defined as a BMI of 25-29.9. Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or greater.

Based on BMI, a person who is 5 feet 4 inches tall would be considered overweight at 150 pounds and obese at 180 pounds. Similarly, a person who is 6 feet tall would be considered overweight at 190 pounds and obese at 220 pounds.

Southeastern Indiana’s obesity rate is similar to the 32 percent rate for the rest of the Greater Cincinnati and northern Kentucky area and 30 percent national rate.

When considering whether an adult in the tri-state is obese or simply overweight, the rate rises to about 68 percent, up slightly from 65 percent in 2013.

“In our region, nearly 8 in 10 adults with fair or poor health are overweight or obese, while just less than 6 in 10 adults with excellent or very good health are overweight or obese,” says Dr. O’dell Owens, President and CEO of Interact for Health. “This illustrates the connection between weight and overall health.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says obesity is often associated with a number of other health issues including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, mental health, and generally reduced quality of life.

The survey also determined that some demographics are more likely than others to be obese. For example, adults earning less than 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines are more likely to be obese (45 percent obesity rate) than adults living between 100 percent and 200 percent (35 percent) and above 200 percent (29 percent). Four in 10 African-American adults are obese, compared to three in 10 whites.

Interact for Health’s 2017 Community Health Status Survey was conducted by telephone interviews with more than 4,200 randomly selected adults residing in the 22-county tri-state area between August 10, 2016 and March 8, 2017. The overall survey’s margin of error is +/- 1.5 percent, but could be higher in subgroups.