Mothers and young children are healthy

% of women delivering a live birth who had a healthy weight prior to pregnancy


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Story Behind the Curve

Last Updated: July 2015

Author: Division of Maternal and Child Health, Vermont Department of Health

The most recent available data shows that 53% of Vermont women who had a baby in 2010 had a healthy weight before they became pregnant. This is better than the HP2020 2007 baseline of 48.5% and almost meets the HP 2020 goal of 53.4%. However, the trend is worsening.

Vermont's Obesity Prevention Plan, Fit & Healthy Vermonters, was developed through a collaborative process with many partner organizations. Using the CDC Community Guide to Obesity Prevention and Weight Control, the workgroups identified Vermont-specific strategies in the following areas:

  • Breastfeeding
  • Healthy Communities
  • Early Childcare
  • Government and Partner Organizations
  • Health Care
  • Healthy Retailers
  • Individuals and Families
  • Schools
  • Worksites
  • Health care providers
  • Community organizations
  • Schools
  • Worksites
  • Grocers
  • Farmers and other food producers
  • Local governments
What Works

The 2009 CDC publication Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity in the United States outlined 24 evidence- based strategies for preventing obesity. While not focused specifically on women of childbearing age, strategies that prevent or reduce obesity in the whole population will, by definition, have an impact on reproductive age women. One additional specific strategy is screening for obesity in all women of reproductive age, as recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.


At the state level, the Department provides many toolkits and resource guides to assist communities and organizations as they work locally to prevent obesity, improve nutrition and increase physical activity.

Similar to statewide efforts, local partners are using data to drive local strategy. For regional data on Maternal and Infant Health indicators, check out our Public Health Data Explorer.

Why Is This Important?

Reaching a healthy weight before pregnancy reduces the risks of neural tube defects, preterm delivery, diabetes, cesarean section, and hypertensive and thromboembolic disease that are associated with obesity.

This indicator is part of Healthy Vermonters 2020 (the State Health Assessment) that documents the health status of Vermonters at the start of the decade and the population health indicators and goals that will guide the work of public health through 2020. Click here for more information.

Notes on Methodology

Data is updated as it becomes available and timing may vary by data source. For more information about this indicator, click here.

The PRAMS sample of women who have had a recent live birth is drawn from the state's birth certificate file. Each participating state samples between 1,300 and 3,400 women per year. Women from some groups are sampled at a higher rate to ensure adequate data are available in smaller but higher risk populations. Selected women are first contacted by mail. If there is no response to repeated mailings, women are contacted and interviewed by telephone. Data collection procedures and instruments are standardized to allow comparisons between states.

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