Obesity affects people of all ages. Oklahoma, along with many other states, has seen a steady increase in obesity rates over the last 20 years. Unfortunately, Oklahoma’s obesity rates are rising at a much faster pace than other states — making it the fourth most overweight state in the nation.

The Causes and Effects of Obesity

According to the CDC, obesity can cause poor mental health, a lower quality life and increases the risk of other chronic illnesses. There are two main controllable factors leading to obesity: poor diet and an inactive lifestyle.

Poor Diet: Eating a well-balanced diet can improve overall health — from more energy to a better immune system. However, an unbalanced diet with one or fewer servings of fruits and veggies per day can result in rapid weight gain and an increased risk of obesity. Below is a table highlighting the recommended servings of fruit and veggies for Oklahomans of all ages. Adults and kids can also limit their daily sugar intake by switching to water for hydration rather than soda or juice boxes.

Daily fruit and vegetable recommendations chart

Inactive Lifestyle: Unfortunately, only about 1 in 3 adults and kids are getting enough physical activity every day. Any active movement throughout the day is good for your health and can reduce the risk of obesity, stress, illness and more. Below is the recommended amount of daily movement for adults and kids.

Physical activity recommendations chart

Oklahoma’s 5-Year Obesity Plan

These numbers can be discouraging, which is why Oklahoma has developed a 5-Year State Obesity Plan to make a healthy change!

“We know that reducing obesity rates in Oklahoma will require breaking down silos, working together and changing the environments where people live, learn, work and play. The goal is to make the healthy choice available to everyone.”

– Lauren Larson, Lead Wellness Coordinator at the Oklahoma State Department of Health

The 5-Year State Obesity Plan is an evidence-based community improvement plan. Its objectives are to decrease the number of obese Oklahomans by 1–3% over the next five years by providing resources, such as educators and other professionals, who can work with their patients on weight management. This includes health care and education at the schools and worksites in our communities that need it most.

The goal of the plan is to identify environmental changes that will make it easier for all Oklahomans to build healthy habits. These include but are not limited to affordable physical activities and access to fresh and healthy foods in sparse areas.

To learn more about the 5-Year Plan, read the in-depth report. For ideas on how to start building healthy habits today, hop over to our Healthy Living 101 page!