Rhode Island Healthy Weight Survey

Dates: 2011-2012

State: Rhode Island

Client(s): Rhode Island Department of Health

Service: Applied Research & Evaluation

Technical Expertise: Healthy Communities, State and Local Public Health


Obesity and overweight continue to burden Rhode Island. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010, 25.5% of adults in Rhode Island were obese. Being obese and/or overweight can lead to a number of negative health outcomes, including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, hypertension, and sleep and respiratory problems.

To combat obesity, the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) started the Initiative for a Healthy Weight (IHW) program to lead the state in making it easier for Rhode Islanders to eat well and move more. The IHW program contracted with JSI to develop, administer, and analyze a statewide resident survey. The survey assessed resident’s perceptions regarding: 1) access to healthy foods, 2) opportunities to be physically active in their neighborhood, 3) support for various policy initiatives to reduce childhood obesity, and 4) awareness of various statewide healthy weight programs. JSI drew a representative sample of RI households and a representative oversample of residents from 3 communities funded to focus on improving healthy weight. The survey was administered as a mail survey.

JSI produced a summary report describing survey results, as well as additional in-depth reports that highlight significant findings. Results informed strategic planning for the IHW and assess statewide support for various policies to combat obesity.