Hendricks County
2019 Obesity Report 


Obesity is a complex health issue that can affect many aspects of your overall health and well-being. It results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, including individual factors and societal factors (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2019). Individual factors include behaviors such as dietary patterns, physical activity, inactivity, medication use, and other exposures. Societal factors include the food and physical activity environment, education and skills, and food marketing and promotion.

Obesity is a serious concern because it is associated with poorer mental health outcomes, reduced quality of life, and the leading causes of death in the U.S. and worldwide, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.

Data sets are from County Health Rankings, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Food Environmental Access, and Wonder: Causes of Death.

Adult Overweight & Obesity

Staying in control of your weight contributes to good health now and as you age. Weight that is higher than what is considered a healthy weight for a given height is described as overweight or obese (CDC, 2019).

Hendricks County has an obesity rate slightly less than that of Indiana (33%). It has increased from 28% in 2010 to 32% in 2018.

Click the play button on any chart to view the data progress over time.

In 2018, 66% of Hoosiers were either in the obese or overweight category based on their Body Mass Index (BMI). 

BMI is a measure that can be used as a screening tool to estimate weight status. However, it is not a diagnostic tool for disease risk. It can be used to get a general idea about weight classification based on a person's weight and height.

This chart shows the percentage of people in Indiana who are considered obese based on their BMI, by age group.

Among the survey respondents, the percentage of people with a BMI of 30 or greater increases with age, peaks at ages 45-64 years, and declines at age 55-64 years.

The age groups with the highest percentage of people considered obese are Hoosiers ages 35-44 years (38%), ages 45-54 years (41%) and ages 55-64 years (38%).

Individual Factors

In 2017, 70% of survey respondents of people in Indiana were physically active in a given month. But only 46% participated in at least 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity per week and only 17% participated in enough aerobic and muscle strengthening exercises to meet guidelines.  

For adults, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2018)  recommends:

- At least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of the two

- Muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity and that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week

In 2017, 40% of survey respondents in Indiana did not consume any fruit and almost 20% did not consume any vegetables.

According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, healthy eating means making half of your plate fruits and vegetables.

Social Determinants of Health

Community environments affect obesity. Community, home, child care, school, health care, and workplace settings can all influence people’s daily behaviors (CDC, 2019). Therefore, it is important to create environments in these locations that make it easier to engage in physical activity and eat a healthy diet.

Outcomes of Obesity

People who have obesity, compared to those with a normal or healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions (CDC, 2019).  Local data for the following conditions can be found below: high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (dyslipidemia), high blood pressure (hypertension), coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and body pain and difficulty with physical functioning.

Other conditions that obesity  increases the risk for (that are not listed below) include: gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint), sleep apnea and breathing problems, some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver), low quality of life, mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders,  and all-causes of death (mortality).

As previously stated, obesity is one of the leading risk factors associated with some of the most frequent causes of death in Indiana, and in Hendricks County.

The best treatment for obesity is prevention!

Oftentimes, the habits we learn and form during childhood are predictors for health behaviors and health outcomes during our adulthood. Childhood obesity is just as complex a health issue as adulthood obesity. It occurs when a child is well above the normal or healthy weight for his or her age and height (CDC, 2016). The causes of excess weight gain in young people are similar to those in adults, including factors such as a person’s behavior and genetics.

Eating healthy and being physically active helps to prevent chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease (CDC, 2016). Here are some more specific tips and recommendations.


What Everyone Can Do

Move more, sit less! Regular physical activity is important to regulate weight and has many benefits. The general recommendations are to get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity, or a combination of both, along with 2 days of strength training per week (Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2018). 

Eat healthier! Everyone can benefit from a nutritious diet. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends to:

- Follow a healthy eating pattern

- Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount

- Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake

- Shift to healthier food and beverage choices

- Support healthy eating patterns for all

Other tips include:

-Limit your screen time, which is often sedentary (sitting)

-Try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night

What Communities Can Do

Community environments affect obesity. Community, home, child care, school, health care, and workplace settings can all influence people’s daily behaviors (CDC, 2019). Therefore, it is important to create environments in these locations that make it easier to engage in physical activity and eat a healthy diet.

Learn more and find valuable resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019.  https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/causes.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/causes.html


NHLBI. 2013. Managing Overweight and Obesity in Adults: Systematic Evidence Review from the Obesity Expert Panel. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/sites/default/files/media/docs/obesity-evidence-review.pdf

Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/guidelines/ob_gdlns.pdf

Bhaskaran K, Douglas I, Forbes H, dos-Santos-Silva I, Leon DA, Smeeth L. Body-mass

Kasen, Stephanie, et al. “Obesity and psychopathology in women: a three decade prospective study.” International Journal of Obesity 32.3 (2008): 558-566.

Luppino, Floriana S., et al. “Overweight, obesity, and depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies.” Archives of general psychiatry 67.3 (2010): 220-229.

Roberts, Robert E., et al. “Prospective association between obesity and depression: evidence from the Alameda County Study.” International journal of obesity 27.4 (2003): 514-521.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018. 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.