Although Massachusetts has lower rates of obesity than most other states, it is still a major public health problem.
  • More than half of Massachusetts adults are overweight or obese

  • One third of high school and middle school students are overweight of obese

Over the last 20 years, adult obesity has more than doubled. Obesity increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers.

The biggest cause of obesity is consuming too many calories. When you consume more calories than you burn, you are likely to gain weight. Likewise, when you burn more calories than you consume, you are likely to lose weight.

There are many reasons why people are taking in more calories than they burn. These include large portion sizes, easy access to unhealthy foods, and the low-cost junk food. Americans are also not as active as they were several decades ago.

To reduce and prevent obesity, it's important to eat healthy and get regular physical activity. For more tips on how to eat better and move more, visit

Calculate your BMI here.

To download materials on healthy eating and physical activity, visit the Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse at


This information is provided by the Wellness Unit within the Department of Public Health.