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Community Health

Obesity Holds Steady In Most States, Still Rising In Some

US obesity map
Trust For America's Health/RWJF
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Adult Obesity Rate by State, 2014

Obesity has leveled off in most states but it's still a major problem, with over 30 percent of Americans struggling with bulging waistlines and associated health problems. That's the conclusion of a new report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Rates are still rising in Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, and Utah. Twenty-two states had rates over 30 percent. In contrast, in 1990 no state had an obesity rate over 20 percent. 

Arkansas is the fattest state, with nearly 36 percent obesity. Rates in Mississippi and West Virginia both also topped 35 percent. Those three states had among the highest rates of diabetes and high blood pressure as well. The states with the thinnest population were Colorado (21 percent), Hawaii and Massachusetts. See where your state ranks here

Nationally, obesity rates are 38 percent higher among blacks than whites and more than 26 percent higher among Latinos than whites. These disparities start in childhood. 

The report estimates obesity is costing the U.S. between $147 billion and $210 billion annually in medical expenses. Obese adults spend 42 percent more on direct healthcare costs than their trimmer counterparts.