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Prince George's County Maryland Health Department Prince George's County

Weight Management

Health and Wellness for Adults

Adult obesity is an epidemic in the United States. The number of adults who are obese or overweight has grown at an alarming rate. Adults are gaining extra weight that puts them at risk for obesity and related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Adult obesity can also lead to low self-esteem, negative body images, and/or depression.

Adult obesity in Maryland has worsened. Maryland ranks 26th among most obese states in the nation. According to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, Maryland's adult obesity rate is 27.6 percent, up from 21.9 percent in 2003 and 10.8 percent in 1990.

Prince George's County adult obesity rate of 34.2% is higher than most counties in the United States. The percentage of adults with Type 2 diabetes in Prince George's County is 10.9%, which is slightly higher than the national average of 10.30%.

Adults PG County Maryland
Overweight 38.4% 36.7%
Obese 32.6% 26.7%
* Rate per 100,000 residents (2008)

The Health Department's Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) Initiative has taken an active role in addressing adult obesity in Prince George County. The Initiative continues to make positive strides on county residents in targeted communities by collaborating with community-based, including faith-based organizations, to provide health and wellness programs and activities that encourage healthy eating and physically active lifestyles for adults.

Helpful Tips to Keep Adults Healthy

  1. Avoid Sugary Drinks like Sodas, Fruit Punch, or Kool-Aid and Replace it with water or 100% Fruit Juices.
  2. Avoid unhealthy snacks like cookies, cakes, or chips and replace them with fruits or nuts
  3. Reduce portion size to the size of a fist and encourage healthy eating
  4. Reduce Computer/ Television time and incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activities (walking, yoga, exercising, etc.)
  5. Include more vegetables and protein into meals ; planning meals ahead helps shape healthy eating
Data Sources:
  • Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Environmental Public Health Tracking. (2008). Demographics & social determinants of health (2005-2009). Retrieved from website: Documents/County-Profiles/PrinceGeorgesCounty_Final.pdf
  • Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of obesity in the United States, 2009–2010. NCHS data brief, no 82. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2012. NIH. Clinical Guidelines Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults: The Evidence Report. 1998

Understanding Body Mass Index

BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is important to know what your BMI does and does not indicate about your weight, health and lifestyle choices. Your BMI is calculated from your height and weight. It is a fairly reliable indicator of body fat for most adults, with athletes and the elderly being two exceptions. BMI is an inexpensive alternative to direct measurements of body fat, such as underwater weighing, but it is only one of many factors that you and your health-care provider should use in evaluating your health status.

Calculating Your BMI

You can calculate your BMI with this formula: weight (in pounds) / [height (in inches) x height (in inches)] x 703 or use the Academy BMI calculator.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses BMI to define terms like overweight and obese:

  • Underweight: BMI below 18.5
  • Normal weight: 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight: 25.0 to 29.9
  • Obese: 30.0 and above.

BMI and Your Health

People with very low or very high BMIs tend to have the greatest health risks. Even so, BMI is only one factor in your overall health. For example, if your BMI falls into the normal weight category, you will still have a higher risk of health problems if you:

  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Do not participate in regular physical activity
  • Eat lots of nutrient-poor foods with added fat and sugar.

If your BMI is in the overweight category, you will have a lower overall health risk if you:

  • Get regular physical activity
  • Have blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels that are within normal limits.

This means BMI is one aspect of your health to discuss with your care provider. Together, you can decide if other assessments need to be done and whether lifestyle changes such as eating smarter and moving more will improve your health.

BMI Measurements in Children and Teens

While BMI calculations for children and teens use the same formula as adults, criteria used to define obesity and overweight are different for young people because of factors like body fat differences between boys and girls and variations in body fat at different ages. Visit the BMI Percentile Calculator for Child and Teen to determine your child's BMI.

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Coming soon: Mobile Apps for Health Screenings



Prince George's County
Health Department

1701 McCormick Drive
Largo, Maryland 20774

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