Adults Who are Overweight or Obese, 2016-18

Adults Who are Overweight or Obese, 2016-18

What does this measure?

The percentage of adults who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 25. The index is an estimate of body fat based on height and weight. A person with a BMI between 25 and 30 is considered overweight, and those with a BMI over 30 are considered obese.

Why is this important?

Being overweight or obese puts a person at greater risk for a wide variety of serious health problems. Obesity is recognized as a national problem that has grown tremendously over the last three decades, contributing to increases in medical expenditures for treatment of related diseases.

How is our county performing?

In 2016-18, 73% of residents in Berks and Schuylkill counties were either overweight or obese, which was higher than the state and nation (both at 66%). The counties' percentage was up 7 percentage points from 2011-13. Pennsylvania's rate increased by 1 percentage point and the U.S. rate decreased by 2 percentage points during the same period.

The percentage of overweight and obese residents in Berks and Schuylkill counties in 2016-18 was higher than in all the comparison counties. It was closest to the percentage in Lancaster counties (69%). Of the comparison counties, Chester County had the lowest percentage of overweight or obese residents at 56%. Unlike Berks and Schuylkill's increase, Carbon, Lehigh, and Northampton, Chester, and Dauphin and Lebanon all saw decreases of around 3% in their rates from 2011-13 to 2016-18. Lancaster rose by 3%, and Montgomery had no change in the same time period.

Notes about the data

Data come from a federal government survey designed to collect scientific data on health risks and behaviors. The data reported are for moving three-year averages. Berks and Schuylkill county data is combined by the survey and reported together. Similarly, Dauphin and Lebanon counties and Carbon, Lehigh, and Northampton counties are reported as groups of counties.

Beginning in 2011, the Centers for Disease Control made two changes to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System on which this indicator is based. The survey now includes cell-phone users, and a new statistical method is used to weight responses. As a result, changes from 2010 and years prior to 2011 and later may be a result of those technical changes rather than true trends.

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

Adults Who are Overweight or Obese, 2016-18
United States66%31%35%
Berks County
Berks County Regions
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County56%19%37%
Lancaster County69%36%33%
Lebanon County
Lehigh County
Montgomery County62%27%35%
Schuylkill County
Berks, Schuylkill73%34%39%
Dauphin, Lebanon66%31%35%
Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton63%31%32%

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania Department of Health

Adults Who are Overweight or Obese, 2011-13
United States64%28%36%
Berks County
Berks County Regions
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County59%23%36%
Lancaster County66%28%38%
Lebanon County
Lehigh County
Montgomery County62%25%37%
Schuylkill County
Berks, Schuylkill66%32%34%
Dauphin, Lebanon68%31%37%
Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton66%29%37%

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania Department of Health

Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in K-6 Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in 7-12 Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Physically Inactive Adults Not Applicable
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
Early Prenatal Care Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Disengaged Youth Decreasing
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Population by Age Not Applicable
Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels Maintaining
Change in Population by Age and Gender Not Applicable
Change in Total Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Households by type Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Seniors Living Alone Maintaining
Language Diversity Increasing
Unemployment Rate Increasing
Change in Labor Force Decreasing
Employment to Population ratio Decreasing
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Sector Share of Total Jobs Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
People Entering/Leaving County/Region for Work Not Applicable
Public Assistance Maintaining
Spending for Local Governments Maintaining
Spending for Counties Maintaining
Spending for School Districts Maintaining
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
English Language Learners Increasing
Students Receiving Special Education Services Increasing
Per Student Spending Maintaining
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Brain Drain/Gain Maintaining
Plans of High School Graduates Not Applicable
Enrollment in Local Colleges Decreasing
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income by Household Type Not Applicable
Living Wage Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
Working Poor Maintaining
People Receiving Federal Food Assistance Increasing
People Receiving Supplemental Security Income Increasing
Health Status Not Applicable
People Enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Cancer Incidence Decreasing
Prevalence of Mental Illness Maintaining
Vacant Housing Units Increasing
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Cost of Homeownership Maintaining
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Rent Increasing
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Family Home Sales Increasing
Median Single-Family Home Sale Price Maintaining
Tourism Spending Maintaining
Voter Registration Rate Decreasing
Voter Participation Rate Decreasing
Average Charitable Giving Maintaining
Contributions as a Percentage of Income Maintaining
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Maintaining
Toxic Chemical Releases Decreasing
Violent Crimes Maintaining
Property Crimes Decreasing
Incarceration Rates Maintaining
Drug Abuse Offenses Increasing
Drug Abuse Arrests Increasing
Protection from Domestic Abuse Maintaining
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Crashes Involving Alcohol Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Decreasing