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Obesity in Oklahoma

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Oklahoma Value:


Percentage of adults with a body mass index of 30.0 or higher based on reported height and weight

Oklahoma Rank:


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Obesity by State

Percentage of adults with a body mass index of 30.0 or higher based on reported height and weight

Obesity Trends

Percentage of adults with a body mass index of 30.0 or higher based on reported height and weight

Trend: Obesity in Oklahoma, United States, 2023 Annual Report

Percentage of adults with a body mass index of 30.0 or higher based on reported height and weight

United States

 CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

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About Obesity

US Value: 33.6%

Top State(s): Colorado: 25.0%

Bottom State(s): West Virginia: 41.0%

Definition: Percentage of adults with a body mass index of 30.0 or higher based on reported height and weight

Data Source and Years: CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2022

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United Health Foundation,, accessed 2023.

Obesity is a complex health condition with biological, economic, environmental, individual and societal causes. Known contributing factors to obesity include social and physical environment, genetics, prenatal and early life influences and behaviors such as poor diet and physical inactivity.

Adults who have obesity (categorized as a BMI of 30 or higher based a person’s height and weight) are more likely to have decreased quality of life and increased risk of developing serious health conditions, including hypertension and high cholesterol (risk factors for heart disease), Type 2 diabetes, stroke, sleep apnea, asthma, certain cancers, and mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. 

While BMI can serve as an easily accessible proxy for obesity at the population level, it has its limitations. BMI does not distinguish excess fat from muscle or bone mass, and the relationship between BMI and body fat is influenced by sex, age and ethnicity. Further, it does not capture the complexity of human health; individuals can have a high BMI and good cardiovascular health, while others can have what is categorized as a “healthy” or “normal” BMI and poor cardiovascular health. The American Medical Association has adopted a new policy recognizing BMI as an imperfect clinical measure of health and recommending it only be used in clinical settings alongside other metrics like body composition or genetic factors. 

Additionally, weight stigma, also known as weight-based discrimination or weight bias, can have many negative impacts, including avoidance of exercise and development of mood and anxiety disorders. Weight stigma has been pervasive in healthcare, with reports of medical professionals spending less time with higher-weight patients, engaging in less education and even being reluctant to perform certain procedures on patients with a higher BMI. Weight stigma in the clinical environment can make individuals feel uncomfortable or marginalized, resulting in avoidance of seeking health care.

A recent study estimated the annual medical cost of obesity in the United States to be nearly $173 billion (in 2019 dollars).

According to America’s Health Rankings data, the prevalence of obesity is higher among:

  • Adults ages 45-64 compared with adults ages 65 and older and adults ages 18-44.
  • Black and American Indian/Alaska Native adults compared with Asian and white adults.
  • Adults with less than a college education compared with college graduates. 
  • Adults with an annual household income less than $25,000 compared with those with incomes of $75,000 or more.
  • Adults living in non-metropolitan areas compared with those in metropolitan areas.
  • Adults who have difficulty with mobility compared with adults without a disability.

Addressing obesity requires a multifaceted approach involving policymakers, state and local governments, health care and child care professionals, schools, families and individuals. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies prevention strategies for the state, local and community levels, as well as tips for living a healthy lifestyle. The Community Preventive Services Task Force has compiled a list of resources for community-level interventions that can lower obesity rates by supporting healthy eating and active living in various settings. Examples of policy recommendations that address obesity include: 

The Healthy Weight Checklist can serve as a practical and/or educational resource for maintaining healthy habits. It provides information on eating healthy, getting enough sleep and physical activity, limiting screen time and reducing stress. The CDC also recommends that pregnant women track their weight gain to ensure healthy pregnancy weight.

Healthy People 2030 has several objectives related to weight and nutrition, including:

  • Reducing the proportion of adults with obesity. 
  • Reducing consumption of added sugars.
  • Increasing the proportion of adults who walk or bike to get places.

Gutin, Iliya. “In BMI We Trust: Reframing the Body Mass Index as a Measure of Health.” Social Theory & Health 16, no. 3 (August 2018): 256–71.

Tomiyama, A. Janet, Deborah Carr, Ellen M. Granberg, Brenda Major, Eric Robinson, Angelina R. Sutin, and Alexandra Brewis. “How and Why Weight Stigma Drives the Obesity ‘Epidemic’ and Harms Health.” BMC Medicine 16, no. 1 (December 2018): 123.

Tomiyama, A. Janet, J. M. Hunger, J. Nguyen-Cuu, and C. Wells. “Misclassification of Cardiometabolic Health When Using Body Mass Index Categories in NHANES 2005–2012.” International Journal of Obesity 40, no. 5 (May 2016): 883–86.

Warren, Molly, Madison West, and Stacy Beck. “The State of Obesity 2023: Better Policies for a Healthier America.” Trust for America’s Health, September 2023.

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America’s Health Rankings builds on the work of the United Health Foundation to draw attention to public health and better understand the health of various populations. Our platform provides relevant information that policymakers, public health officials, advocates and leaders can use to effect change in their communities.

We have developed detailed analyses on the health of key populations in the country, including women and children, seniors and those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, in addition to a deep dive into health disparities across the country.