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America's Fattest States

America's Fattest States

Photo courtesy flickr user "Willie Lunchmeat" under a Creative Commons 2.0 attribution license.

Zac Frank | WomenCo.

August 24, 2009

Americans are fat and getting fatter. Calling for a national strategy to combat obesity, the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a report recently detailing America’s growing obesity epidemic. F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009 found that obesity did not decline in any state with rates rising in 23 of them.

Since 1980, the national obesity rate has skyrocketed from 15% to over 30%. The United States continues to be the fattest country in the world with an obesity rate 6% higher than runner-up Mexico. Among the slimmest countries are Japan and South Korea with obesity rates barely over 3%. “How are we going to compete with the rest of the world if our economy and workforce are weighed down by bad health,” said Jeff Levi, Ph.D., executive director of TFAH.

The number of obese and overweight children is also up, with rates at or above 30% in thirty states. These increases are in spite of programs in many states aimed at improving the diets of children. In 2004, only four states had nutritional standards for school lunches, now nineteen do. Nevertheless, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled since 1980.

Why does America and its children keep getting fatter? There are surely many reasons, but to understand the problem, Mississippi is the first place we should look. Coming in atop all others, 32.5 percent of the state’s adults are obese. Colorado again had the lowest rate at 18.9%, the only rate in any state below 20%.

The report only seems to bear ominous news. The sad state of the economy could make the problem worse as the cost of nutritious foods rise and packaged and processed foods become relatively cheaper.

Where does your state fit in?

RankStateObesity
Rate
1.Mississippi32.5%
2.Alabama31.2%
3.West Virginia31.1%
4.Tennessee30.2%
5.South Carolina29.7%
6.Oklahoma29.5%
7.Kentucky29.0%
8.Louisiana28.9%
9.Michigan28.8%
10.Arkansas28.6%
10.Ohio28.6%
12.North Carolina28.3%
13.Missouri28.1%
14.Georgia27.9%
14.Texas27.9%
16.Indiana27.4%
17.Delaware27.3%
18.Alaska27.2%
18.Kansas27.2%
20.Nebraska26.9%
20.South Dakota26.9%
22.Iowa26.7%
22.North Dakota26.7%
22.Pennsylvania26.7%
25.Maryland26.0%
25.Wisconsin26.0%
27.Illinois25.9%
28.Oregon25.4%
28.Virginia25.4%
28.Washington25.4%
31.Minnesota25.3%
32.Nevada25.1%
33.Arizona24.8%
33.Idaho24.8%
35.Maine24.7%
36.New Mexico24.6%
37.New York24.5%
38.Wyoming24.3%
39.Florida24.1%
39.New Hampshire24.1%
41.California23.6%
42.New Jersey23.4%
43.Montana22.7%
44.Utah22.5%
45.District of Columbia22.3%
46.Vermont22.1%
47.Hawaii21.8%
48.Rhode Island21.7%
49.Connecticut21.3%
50.Massachusetts21.2%
51.Colorado18.9%



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