Geographic variation in the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and obesity-related behaviors

Obes Res. 2005 Jan;13(1):118-22. doi: 10.1038/oby.2005.15.


Objective: To examine the variation in the prevalences of obesity and type 2 diabetes in weight loss counseling by health providers and in other potential obesity-related determinants in 100 metropolitan statistical areas in the United States.

Research methods and procedures: We performed a cross-sectional study using data from the 2000 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the largest telephone survey of health behaviors in the United States, of age-adjusted prevalence of obesity, type 2 diabetes, intake of >or=five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, participation in 150 minutes of leisure-time physical activity per week, receipt of weight management advice, and reports of trying to lose or maintain weight among men and women more than 18 years old.

Results: The age-adjusted prevalence of obesity ranged from 13.1% to 30.0% and that of type 2 diabetes from 3.3% to 9.2%. Among participants who had visited a physician for a routine checkup in the previous 12 months, 13.1% to 27.1% of all participants recalled receiving advice from a health professional about their weight, and 11.7% to 34.6% of overweight or obese participants recalled receiving advice to maintain or lose weight.

Discussion: Significant differences in the prevalence of obesity and self-reported type 2 diabetes and in medical practice patterns regarding weight management advice exist among metropolitan statistical areas. These results suggest important opportunities to investigate reasons for these variations that could potentially be used to mitigate the current epidemic of obesity and to identify areas where obesity and diabetes prevention efforts may need to be targeted.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Weight
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Eating
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vegetables