It's common knowledge that Americans are getting fatter, but the statistics paint a bleak picture of just how large we are, as well as how disparate different regions of the U.S. are in terms of the size of their people.
This week the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention released its latest map showing adult obesity rates in individual states. According to the CDC's annual Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) report, Mississippi is America's most obese state for the sixth year in a row. The report shows that over one-third of Mississippians, 34.9%, are obese. Louisiana comes closest to Mississippi with 33.4% of its citizens classified as obese, and West Virginia rounds out the top three with a 32.4% obesity rate.
On the other side of the spectrum, Colorado is the least obese (though not exactly trim) state with only one-fifth, 20.7%, of its population being obese. Hawaii (21.8%) and Massachusetts (22.7%) round out the top three least-obese states.
The Southern states topping the most obese list and the western states topping the least obese list are no anomalies. The South had the highest precentage of adult obesity with 29.5%, while Western states had fewer obese people, with a 24.3% rate. The Midwestern states do rival the south's size, though, with a 29% obesity rate. In fact, around a dozen Southern and Midwestern states are heavily tipping these rates higher with extremely high obesity rates. According to the CDC, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia all have obesity rates above 30%. The Northeastern states are closer to Western states, with a 25.3% obesity rate.
A full list of states and the prevalence of obesity for the people who live in them can be found on the CDC website.
When considering what these statistics say about the size of Americans, remember that these averages only include Americans who are obese. It does not include the number of Americans who are simply overweight. The CDC considers an adult who has a body mass index (BMI) of over 30 to be obese. Adults with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 are considered overweight.
(Picture courtesy CDC)