Percentage of adults whose body mass index (BMI) is considered overweight or obese


As of 2021, it is estimated that 59% of residents in Travis County are overweight or obese.  This prevalence estimate is smaller than the overall estimate of overweight and obesity for Texas residents of 69.8%.
Healthy People 2020 set an objective to increase the percentage of people that are a healthy weight to 33.9% by achieving 10% improvements in the rate over time.  Based off of data from 2020, an estimated 36.5% of the Travis County population has a healthy weight.  Because Travis County already meets the Healthy People 2020 objective, a 10% decrease from the initial 2018 prevalence value of overweight and obesity (60.9%) would be 54.8% for 2023.
Healthy People 2020 is a set of goals and objectives aimed to improve health promotion and disease prevention.  For more information on Healthy People 2020, visit
Please Note*: The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) collects data from non-institutionalized U.S. adult residents regarding their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services.  The primary purpose of the survey is to provide population-based estimates for chronic disease and the associated risk factors for Travis County residents. As a result, data from BRFSS are estimates of the prevalence of any specified condition.


The prevalence of overweight or obese residents has consistently been just slightly lower for Travis County residents than for Texas residents overall.  While the prevalence has fluctuated gradually from 2011-2020, the 2020 prevalence is the highest value in the past four years.
Austin Public Health (APH) provides numerous programs and initiatives to promote healthy eating and active living.  These include diabetes education/prevention classes and Walk Texas and More! which encourage individuals to get active through walking and other forms of exercise.  APH works with schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, and the faith-based community to implement policies, systems, and environmental changes that make it easier to be healthy where people live, work, learn, play, and pray.  To improve access to healthy food, APH contracts with Farmshare Austin to provide mobile markets that offer fresh produce in communities facing  food barriers, and partners with Economic Development Department to offer the Healthy Corner Store Program.  To address racial and ethnic health disparities related to obesity,  APH assures that programs and services are tailored to the cultural and linguistic needs of communities.  Certified Community Health Workers deliver programs in a culturally appropriate manner, both in-person and online, and in English and Spanish.  Efforts to create healthy environments for active living and healthy eating are focused in the Eastern Crescent of Travis County as these ZIP codes have less access to grocery stores and other infrastructure to promote health.
Note: to see the underlying data for this chart, please select the "View Source Data" link to the left.

Additional Measure Insights

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated from an individual's height and weight that classifies their weight into various categories of health including underweight, healthy weight, overweight, and obese.  This measure aims to capture the percentage of residents that have a BMI that meets the criteria of overweight or obese.  Values for resident height and weight are captured through the administration of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey and then calculated to create estimates of BMI.  The BRFSS survey is a telephone survey conducted annually by Texas Department of State Health Services to assess a variety of health measures within the state.
Comparing prevalence of overweight and obesity highlights how various demographics may have an impact on the measure.  The prevalence of obesity is significantly higher among Blacks, Non-Hispanics compared to non-Hispanic Whites (84% vs. 55%) representing a very significant and striking racial disparity. Differences are also apparent when comparing the prevalence values against education level, household income, and health insurance status.  Travis County has a higher prevalence of obesity among individuals who make less than $50,000 annually, individuals who do not have health insurance coverage, and individuals whose highest level education completion is less than high school.

Measuring the prevalence of obesity and overweight within Travis County is valuable because of its relationship to chronic disease.  The chart below, titled "Chronic Disease Prevalence in Obese vs. Non-Obese Adults," examines individuals that are obese (or not obese), and what percentage have a chronic health condition.  The largest discrepancy is that, of people that are obese in Travis County, 19.3% have diabetes while of people that are not obese, only 5.9% have diabetes.

Measure Details and Definition

1) Definition:  This is a measure of the percentage of residents with a BMI value that meets the classification of overweight (25 ≤  BMI  < 30 ) or obese (BMI ≥ 30).
2) Calculation method: The measure is calculated by using self reported height and weight values of survey participants to determine a BMI category.  The number of residents with overweight and obese BMI are divided by the total number of residents surveyed.  The data collected from the survey is weighted so that the survey data can be estimated for the population as a whole.
3) Data Collection Process:  The data is collected via telephone survey administered by Texas Department of State Health Services on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
4) Measure Target Calculation: The target for this measure is 66.1% of people meet the classification of overweight or obese, based on the the Healthy People 2020 objective to increase the percentage of persons at a healthy weight to 33.9%.  Because Travis County is already below this value, a a 10% decrease from the 2018 prevalence would be no more than 54.8% classified as overweight or obese by 2023.
5) Frequency Measure is Reported: Data is reported every year, with a two year lag. 

Date page was last updated: December 2022