Feb 12, 2019 - Research

BMI across the USA

Your body mass index (BMI) is calculated as your weight divided by your height squared. BMI is often used to assess if someone is underweight, overweight, or at a healthy weight.

We calculated the average BMI for 23andMe research participants in each US state:

Average BMI of 23andMe participants by US state

The average BMI of 23andMe participants in every US state is over 25, which is in the range described by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) as overweight. According to the CDC, the states with the highest prevalence of obesity in 2014 were Arkansas (AR), West Virginia, WV), and Mississippi (MS).

This discovery was made possible thanks to 23andMe customers who participated in research.

Scientific details

The findings are based on responses from 230,000 23andMe customers who participated in research. We selected the top five states with highest BMI by evaluating the 95 percent confidence intervals for the average BMI estimates. Each of the states listed had a lower bound of at least 27.9. While BMI is often used as a screening tool, it is not diagnostic of overall health or body fat mass. In addition, the 23andMe database may not be representative of the general population.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Obesity Prevalence Maps

Keep in mind that 23andMe research insights are preliminary and are meant for informational purposes only.

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