Obesity in Minnesota: Quick Facts

How is obesity defined?

Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.

What is BMI and how is it calculated?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. BMI can be used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems but it is not a diagnostic measure of health risk. Individuals should talk to their health care provider. To learn more, visit How is BMI calculated?

What is the adult obesity rate in Minnesota?

The state's adult obesity rate in 2015 was 26.1 percent, down from 27.6 percent in 2014.

Minnesota is the only state in the region, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa, to succeed in keeping its obesity rates firmly below 30 percent. According to the CDC, neighboring states' rates ranged from 30.7 to 32.1 percent in 2015.

Five state obesity graphic

What are the health consequences of obesity?

People who are obese, compared to those with a normal or healthy weight, are at increased risk for:

  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • 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
  • Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning1

What is the cost of obesity in the state?

In Minnesota, medical expenses due to obesity were estimated to be $2.8 billion in 2009.2

What is being done to help reduce obesity rates in Minnesota?

Across Minnesota, communities are working together through the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) to expand healthy eating and active living opportunities with multiple strategies, across multiple settings and multiple sectors. SHIP spends $17.5 million per year supporting grant funding to local community partners in all 87 counties and 10 tribal nations.

SHIP grants support locally controlled community leadership teams, which have linked with nearly 2,300 active partner sites, including schools, workplaces, communities, health care facilities and child care facilities, while supporting and leveraging the work of a variety of partners such as community groups, schools, employers, farmers, chambers of commerce, hospitals and health care facilities, city planners, county boards, tribal officials and more.

For more information

1Adult Obesity Causes & Consequences. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from the CDC's website.

2Trogdon, J. et al. State- and Payer-Specific Estimates of Annual Medical Expenditures Attributable to Obesity. Obesity (2011).

3Email from SDK Communications to Minnesota Department of Health (April 1, 2015) (on file with Department).

Updated Friday, August 11, 2017 at 02:37PM