State-issued identification cards reveal patterns in adult weight status

Daniel S. Morris, Eric C. Main, Jenine K. Harris, Abraham Moland, Curtis Cude

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: State-issued identification cards are a promising data source for neighborhood-level obesity estimates. Methods: We used information from three million Oregon state-issued identification cards to compute age-adjusted estimates of average adult body mass index (BMI) for each census tract in the state. We used multivariate linear regression to identify associations between weight status and population characteristics, food access, commuting behavior, and geography. Results: Together, home values, education, race, ethnicity, car commuting, and rural-urban commuting area (RUCA) explained 86% of the variation in BMI among tracts. BMI was lower in areas with higher home values and greater educational attainment, and higher in areas with more workers commuting by car. Discussion: Our findings are consistent with other research on socioeconomic disparities in obesity. This demonstrates state-issued identification cards are a promising data source for BMI surveillance and may offer new insight into the association between weight status and economic and environmental factors. Public health agencies should explore options for developing their own obesity estimates from identification card data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6388-6402
Number of pages15
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 8 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • BMI (Body Mass Index)
  • Driver card
  • Driver license
  • Identification card
  • Obesity
  • Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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