Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

Research & Data Analysis Division


Publication cover for 'First Steps Database: Obesity and Pregnancy'

Nov 05 | 9.78 | Online Library

First Steps Database: Obesity and Pregnancy

This paper describes the prevalence of pre-pregnancy overweight or obesity, as defined by body mass index, in women who gave birth in Washington State in 2003. Washington State birth certificates collect the mother's height which makes calculation of the BMI possible. The paper also assesses the risk of poor birth outcomes for women who are classified as overweight or obese. The 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows that the prevalence of obesity is greatest among non-Hispanic black women (49.6%), compared to Mexican-American women (38.9%) and non-Hispanic white women (31.3%). In Washington State among women aged 15-44 who gave birth in 2003, American Indian women have the highest prevalence of obesity (34.2%) compared to black women (28.4%), Mexican American women (23.5%), and white women (21.5%). Differences in the prevalence of obesity between national and state data may reflect the tendency for BMI to increase as women age, since the Washington State data report the BMI of women in their child-bearing years who are younger than the age group represented in the NHANES sample.