The United States is one of the most overweight nations in the world. According to data from “The State of Obesity-Better Policies for a Healthier America,” every state in the nation currently has an adult obesity rate over 20% and over half of the states have a rate of 30% or higher. Louisiana has the worst rate at 36.2%, while Colorado is the slimmest state at 20.2%. The South has nine of the top ten states while the West and Northeast have the slimmer states.
Four states: Minnesota, Montana, New York and Ohio saw decreases in their obesity rates which is the first time the obesity rate has declined in any state in the past decade. There is a strong correlation between states with high obesity rates and those that reported lower levels of both physical activity and consumption of fruits and vegetables. The percentage of obese adults tends to increase with age and peak in the 45-64 age range and then actually decline in adults age 65 and older.
The top ten states with the highest obesity rates are:
- Louisiana: 36.2%
- Alabama: 35.6%
- Mississippi: 35.6%
- West Virginia: 35.6%
- Kentucky: 34.6%
- Arkansas: 34.5%
- Kansas: 34.2%
- Oklahoma: 33.9%
- Tennessee: 33.8%
- Missouri: 32.4%
- Texas: 32.4%
This obesity statistic also applies to children and youth. Fair Health, a national clearing house for insurance claims data looked at claims for the period of 2011 through 2015. The Fair Health analysis “found that during the four years analyzed, the number of claims tied to an obesity diagnosis among youth aged 0 to 22 also rose, jumping 94% in infants and toddlers to as much as 154% among 19 to 22 year-olds.”
“At the same time, claims for pre diabetes among children and youth rose 110%, while high blood pressure claims rose 67%. Claims for Sleep apnea, rose 161%.”
The State of Obesity-Better Policies for a Healthier America is a project of the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Information regarding children and youth obesity-related conditions from Kaiser Health News, published online January 12, 2017.