Healthy Communities


Nutrition in your life

The foods we eat have a huge impact on our health and how long we live. The combination of an unhealthy diet and too little physical activity is indirectly the second leading cause of death in the United States. Obesity is considered one of the top two causes of death that can be prevented.

Reference: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020


Use MyPlate to make healthier choicesnutrition logo in blue

Visit to find practical tools that can help you make healthier food choices. A daily food plan can help you know what you should eat and drink and the SuperTracker can help you plan, analyze, and track your diet and physical activity.

MyPlate is the federal government’s newest food icon for presenting these guidelines. MiPlato is the Spanish language version. MyPlate and MiPlato highlight the amount of fruit, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy groups needed to make healthy food choices.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture work together to release the Dietary Guidelines every five years. These guidelines use the newest scientific knowledge to create helpful tips for healthy eating and keeping a healthy weight.


Body Mass Index (BMI)body mass index chart

BMI (Body Mass Index) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. It is used to measure overweight and obesity. It is based on a formula of fat to lean body mass.




Less than 18.5

Normal Weight

18.5 to 24.9


25 to 29.9


30.0 and above

There are some concerns about using BMI as the sole measure of excess weight since it cannot distinguish between fat and muscle. People with a significant amount of muscle may have higher BMIs but not have an unhealthy amount of body fat.  In addition, there may be some ethnic or racial differences.  For example, those of African and/or Polynesian descent may have less body fat and leaner muscle tissue suggesting higher baseline BMIs for overweight and obesity. Those of Asian and Aboriginal descent, in spite of healthy BMIs, may still be at high risk of weight related problems.


Waist Circumference

In recognition of these potential shortcomings of BMI, another measure of obesity and overweight, waist circumference or stomach fat, is also used.  


Waist Circumference


More Than 40 Inches


More Than 35 Inches

For more information on obesity prevention activities in Arkansas visit the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention (ArCop).

Public Health Accrediation Board
Arkansas Department of Health
© 2017 Arkansas Department of Health. All Rights Reserved.
4815 W. Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205-3867