Who's Leading the Leading Health Indicators? — Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

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Healthypeople.gov: Leading Health Indicators Monthly Bulletin

November 2015


Good nutrition, regular physical activity, and a healthy body weight are essential parts of a person’s overall health and well-being. Together, these can help decrease a person’s risk of developing serious health conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Ensuring that all Americans eat a healthy diet, participate in regular physical activity, and achieve and maintain a healthy body weight is critical to improving the health of Americans at every age.

Learn More About Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity and the Affordable Care Act

By focusing on prevention, the Affordable Care Act promotes better health for adults and children. Two of the recommended preventive services covered at no cost sharing because of the Affordable Care Act are directly related to nutrition and physical activity: dietary counseling for adults at higher risk for chronic disease, and obesity screening and counseling for all adults and for children aged 6 and over. To learn more about how the Affordable Care Act supports healthy eating and physical activity, please visit www.healthcare.gov.

Leading Health Indicators

Leading Health Indicators (LHIs) are critical health issues that—if tackled appropriately—will dramatically reduce the leading causes of death and preventable illnesses. The Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity LHIs are:

Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

In 2008, the Federal Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans were released, and the Healthy People 2020 physical activity objectives developed in 2010 reflected these guidelines. From 2008 to 2014, the rate for adults 18 years and over that met guidelines for aerobic physical activity and muscle-strengthening activity increased by 17%, from 18.2% to 21.3% (age adjusted), exceeding the Healthy People 2020 target of 20.1%.

From 1999–2000 through 2013–2014, an increase in obesity was observed in both adults aged 20 years and over (from 30.5% in 1999–2000 to 37.7% in 2013–2014, age adjusted) and for youth aged 2–19 years (from 13.9% in 1999–2000 to 17.2% in 2013–2014); however, between 2003–2004 and 2013–2014, no statistically significant change in obesity prevalence was seen among youth.

Between 2005–2008 and 2009–2012, there was no statistically significant change in the mean daily vegetable intake by persons aged 2 years and over (0.76 cup equivalents of total vegetables per 1,000 calories, age adjusted, in 2005–08 and 0.77 in 2009–12). The Healthy People 2020 target is 1.16 cup equivalents per 1,000 calories.

Who’s Leading the Leading Health Indicators?

Turning the Tide on Childhood Obesity through the Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) Initiative

 With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative, Public Health-Seattle & King County funded 41 healthy eating and active living projects in neighborhoods with lower incomes and higher rates of physical inactivity, poor diet, and chronic disease. These projects helped reduce the prevalence of obesity among students in grades 8, 10, and 12 in King County, Washington, through school-based interventions focused on improving nutrition and increasing physical activity among all students (grades K–12).

Read the Full Story

Leading Health Indicator Infographic

Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

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