Risk Factors for Obesity in Washington State

Obesity is driven by changes in the physical, social and economic environment that make it easy to take in more calories than needed while making it harder to get enough physical activity to consume those extra calories.


Obesity in Washington State (PDF)

Two Major Categories for Risk Factors


The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating:

  • a variety of fruits and vegetables
  • low fat dairy and meats
  • whole grains
  • and healthy fats within caloric needs.

The guidelines recommend limiting:

  • unhealthy fats
  • added sugars
  • sodium
  • and alcohol

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People who follow the Dietary Guidelines are at lower risk for:

  • overweight and obesity
  • chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

The diets of most Washington residents vary substantially from the recommendations.

Poor Nutrition has the potential to affect the growth, development, and health status of all people. Pregnant women, infants, children, and older people are especially vulnerable.

Poor nutrition includes not eating enough fruits and vegetables, high food insecurity rates, and low breastfeeding rates.


Nutrition in Washington State (PDF)

Physical activity

People who are physically active benefit from a sense of well-being that comes from physical fitness and an enhanced ability to cope with the stresses of daily life.

Compared to their sedentary neighbors, people who are active are more likely to maintain a healthy weight and less likely to develop chronic diseases.

Many social and environmental factors influence the decision to be active.

Successful strategies to promote physical activity educate the individual and develop policies that create environments to support active lifestyles.


Physical Activity in Washington State (PDF)

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