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The key to maintaining weight is to burn as many calories as we consume.   

When we take in more energy than we use, the body stores the extra energy as fat, and we begin to gain weight.  Overweight and obesity is defined by body mass index (BMI), which is a formula based on height and weight.

  • Overweight: BMI = 25-29.9
  • Obese: BMI is 30 or greater

Because of their changing bodies, overweight and obesity are defined differently in children. Overweight children are those whose BMI is in the 85th to below the 95th percentile, compared to others of the same age and sex, while obese children are in the 95th percentile or above.

Obesity Data
New Jersey

New Jersey Data Fact Sheet 
An at-a-glance document for rates of obesity, physical activity, nutrition and breastfeeding in New Jersey (Updated January 2015).

The Status of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity in New Jersey
This surveillance profile documents the progress of ShapingNJ since 2008. The document presents the guiding goals of the project along with key data points and trends to measure New Jersey's progress toward those goals. This also releases new data from the New Jersey Behavioral Risk Factor Survey about environmental factors related to obesity, nutrition and physical activity. View the Data Highlights page here.


Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)
Conducted annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this national survey provides state and national level data about rates of obesity and overweight.

National Diabetes Surveillance System
A data collection system administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that annually estimates county-level obesity rates. 


Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System
An annual survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that provides overweight and obesity data for low-income children, ages 2 through 5.

National Survey of Children's Health
Conducted every four years by the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, the results of this survey offer information about over 100 indicators of child health and well-being, including rates of overweight and obesity in children 10 to 17 years, rates of physical activity in children ages 6 to 17 years, the amount of time spent watching TV (ages 6-17 years).

New Jersey Student Health Survey (NJ SHS) and Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)
The New Jersey Department of Education administers the NJ SHS every other year (odd years) and collects information from high school students about health related behaviors, including overweight and obesity. The results of the NJ SHS are included in the national reporting for the YRBS when enough students participate in the NJ SHS.


America's Health Rankings
A study conducted by the United Health Foundation, American Public Health Association, and Partners for Prevention, the results estimate obesity-attributable health care costs in 2008 and project those costs in 2018.