Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Promotion

First Committee Member

Fabio Almeida

Second Committee Member

Birgit Khandalavala

Third Committee Member

Fabiana Silva


INTRODUCTION: The continued rise in the prevalence of adult obesity in the United States is a public health concern. Several studies have identified the increasing rates of obesity, its impacts, and the factors leading to obesity. Some researchers have made obesity prevalence projections at the national and state levels. This study aims to fill the critical gap in real-time weight data trends among primary care adult patients in Nebraska. The main goal of this study is to determine and analyze the weight trajectory of adults in Nebraska over the past five years and determine if the trends vary among age and gender and if the COVID-19 pandemic impacted weight trajectory. Additionally, this study will compare the collected data to the national obesity prevalence and other researchers’ obesity prevalence projections at the national and state level.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort study using un-identified data extracted from Nebraska Medicine’s electronic health record sub-database was utilized to examine adult obesity prevalence based on weights and heights recorded during medical encounters. A sample of 16,507 adults had data recorded for 390,789 unique encounters. The study utilized simple descriptive statistics to calculate frequencies/percentages and means/standard deviations to determine the current prevalence of adult obesity in Nebraska to compare to the national prevalence and other researchers’ prevalence predictions.

RESULTS: The average BMI of the study sample (n=16,507) was 30.6 (SD=7.1). The current obesity prevalence among our study sample is 47.6% for overall obesity (BMI ³ 30) and 24.0% for severe obesity (BMI ³ 35). The overall obesity prevalence is 47.9% among females and 47.1% among males. The prevalence of severe obesity is 26.8% among females and 19.9% among males. From January 2017 to October 2021, the average BMI among females and males increased among individuals aged 20 to 49, with females experiencing a larger increase in BMI. Weight loss occurred among both females and males aged 50 years and older. Individuals aged 40-49 years had the highest BMI among females and males.

CONCLUSION: This study provides real-time weight trend data among the Nebraska adult population, including the current prevalence of overall and severe obesity. The obesity prevalence in Nebraska continues to move further away from the Healthy People 2030 goal of 36.0% and is close to reaching and exceeding 2030 obesity prevalence research projections, highlighting the importance and critical need for public health interventions to reduce obesity among adults in Nebraska.

Included in

Public Health Commons