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Overweight and Obesity

of Idaho adults have obesity


of Idaho adults are overweight  or have obesity


of Idaho high school students have obesity

of Idaho youth age 10-17 have obesity


The percentage of Idaho adults who have obesity has increased significantly over the past two decades, from 20 percent in 1999 to over 31 percent in 2020. Nationally, the adult obesity rate jumped by 26 percent between 2007 and 2017, surpassing 40 percent for the first time.(1) In the U.S., childhood obesity alone is estimated to cost $14 billion annually in direct health expenses.(6) 


The determinants of obesity are complex and found at the social, economic, environmental, and individual levels, and include environments that promote unhealthful foods, and lack access to nutritious foods and places to be active. Policy and environmental change initiatives that make healthy choices easy are the most effective in combating obesity. The health and economic burdens of chronic conditions and their associated risk factors require public health agencies to establish obesity and chronic diseases as health priorities. Having obesity increases the risk of chronic health conditions and diseases, such as heart disease, hypertension, high blood cholesterol, diabetes and some cancers.

The department understands how critical it is to address childhood health and obesity prevention using a life-course approach to health. Addressing policies, systems and environments that foster healthy places and healthy choices from the beginning of a child's life will not only positively impact child obesity trends; these interventions can also reduce unintentional injury among children and decrease health risks later in life, such as adult obesity, behavioral health and chronic conditions. (2,3)

Chronic conditions linked to obesity include:

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Heart disease

  • Hypertension

  • Stroke

  • Arthritis

  • Depression

  • Fertility issues

  • Some types of cancer

Risk Reduction Strategies

All levels of government can play a role in prioritizing health, improving equity and reducing health disparities. Sustained and impactful policies, systems, and environmental strategies should take place where children live, learn, and play, such as healthier childcare settings, schools, and communities.(7)

The Idaho Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) Program, housed within the Division of Public Health, works with local public health districts and community partners on obesity prevention initiatives that make healthy choices easier. These initiatives include childhood obesity prevention in Early Care and Education (ECE), nutrition and physical activity in schools, worksite wellness and food insecurity.


  1. The State of Obesity 2021: Better Policies for a Healthier America, Trust of America’s Health, 2020. URL:

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, 2020 URL:

  3. State of Childhood Obesity Report, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2021.

  4. 2019 Idaho Youth Risk Behavior Survey, Idaho Department of Education, 2020.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health. BRFSS Prevalence & Trends Data [online]. 2015. [accessed Sep 02, 2020]. URL:

  6. State of Childhood Obesity. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 2020. URL:

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