A new study draws on data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to find out which states have the biggest obesity problem.
The report, written by JAMA Internal Medicine, shows that “fat” may actually be the new normal in the U.S. despite a huge range of programs and products designed to promote a healthy lifestyle. More than 75% of American adults are now either overweight or obese, and there are now more obese people than overweight people for the first time.
Fattest States – America’s growing obesity problem illustrated by new study
Obesity rates have surged in the last 20 years, and now the Physical Activity Council is recommending newly aggressive tactics in the fight against fat. More and more Americans lead a sedentary lifestyle, which has been named as a major causal factor of obesity alongside genetics, emotional instability and lack of sleep.
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Now the team at WalletHub has compared each state in the U.S. across 12 metrics to find out where the fattest states are, ranked by the prevalence of overweight and obese people. It’s bad news for the residents of Mississippi, Louisiana and West Virginia, which occupy the top three spots in the ranking. Tennessee, South Carolina and Arkansas are next on the list, while Kentucky, Oklahoma, Alabama and North Dakota round out the top 10.
Hawaii, Colorado and New Jersey are the least fat states, followed by Massachusetts, Utah and Montana.
Risk factors for obesity highlighted by study
The aim is to highlight problem areas and risky behaviors in each state in order to help Americans combat the obesity problem. The full data shows the percentage of adults and children who are overweight and obese, levels of physical inactivity, percentage of adults with high cholesterol and diabetes, and levels of risky behaviors such as low consumption of fruit and vegetables.
New York comes in at 35 on the list, while California is number 39. The District of Columbia is 21st, and Florida is number 37. Even those in the lowest ranked states should not be complacent because the obesity problem is nationwide, and will require a concerted effort to arrest.
It must be hoped that state governments take an interest in the study and attempt to implement programs designed to reduce risky behaviors.