Are You Living in One of the Fattest States?
More Americans are overweight than ever before, but Mississippi and West Virginia hold the dubious distinction of having the highest obesity rates in the country, with both weighing in at more than 35%. This according to a new report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which also brings the distressing news that 18 states—including the entire South—have obsiety rates of at least 30%. On the other end of the scale, Colorado and Hawaii are the relative slimmest, with only 22% of their residents considered obese.
Seven U.S. states and the District of Columbia came in with rates just below one quarter of the population. New York was just slightly higher at 25.4%.
One of the more alarming revelations of the study is how quickly high obesity rates have overtaken the nation. According to the Washington Post's writeup of the study, in 1990, no U.S. state had an obesity rate higher than 15%. A mere 10 years later, there were just two that had one lower: Arizona and Colorado. By 2010, no state had a lower rate than 20%. The numbers have been rising every year; in last year alone, Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, New Jersey, Tennessee and Wyoming all saw significant increases.
With obesity rates throughout the country averaging 35%, the U.S. is by far the fattest country—probably not the way Americans aspire to be number 1.
The cause of skyrocketing obesity rates may not be known, but certain correlations between demographics are undeniable and disturbing.
- Blacks have obseity rates higher than 40% in 11 states and 30% in 41 states.
- Latinos have rates higher than 30% in 23 states.
- Whites are higher than 30% in only 10 states.
- More than a third of those earning less than $15,000 a year are obese.
- A quarter of those earning $50,000 are overweight.
- Baby boomers are more likely to be obese than any other age group.
Check out the Post's interactive map for obesity rates by state.