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How Prevalent is Obesity in Your State?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adult obesity rates have doubled over the past two decades. With more than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) being classified as obese, the nutritional state of our nation is not strong.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has released new information for self –reported obesity rates among states. Colorado (20.7%) wins the prize for the state with the lowest prevalence of obesity while Mississippi (34.9%) has the highest. Overall, adult obesity prevalence across the U.S. in 2011 continues to vary by region. The South has the highest percentage of obesity prevalence (29.5%) while the Western part of the nation has the lowest (24.3%) prevalence. See if your state made the healthiest or the heaviest top 10 list.

The 10 healthiest states with the lowest obesity prevalence are:
  1. Colorado (20.7%)
  2. Hawaii (21.8%)
  3. Massachusetts (22.7%)
  4. District of Columbia (23.7%)
  5. New Jersey (23.7%)
  6. California (23.8%)
  7. Utah (24.4%)
  8. Connecticut (24.5%)
  9. Nevada (24.5%)
  10. New York (24.5%)
The 10 heaviest states with the highest obesity prevalence are:
  1. Texas (30.4%)
  2. Indiana (30.8%)
  3. South Carolina (30.8%)
  4. Arkansas (30.9%)
  5. Oklahoma (31.1%)
  6. Michigan (31.3%)
  7. Alabama (32%)
  8. West Virginia (32.4%)
  9. Louisiana (33.4%)
  10. Mississippi (34.9%)
Whether you live in one of the healthiest or the heaviest states doesn't matter. You can take control of your life and health to be sure you are living your healthiest life regardless of where you live. Here are some keys to help.
What is your excuse or barrier to living your best life? What can you do this fall to break down those barriers?

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It doesn't surprise me that the majority of the states with the highest prevalence of obesity would be in the South. I was born and raised in Georgia, and live here now. With the way people tend to cook and eat here I am super surprised that Georgia is not on that list, but I feel that it's not far off.

It's not just the cooking and eating habits that cause me not to be surprised. Wages tend to be lower in the South, and while it's true that cost of living also tends to be lower it means that the South houses a large population of individuals and families who are below or just at the poverty line. Poverty plays a role in what groceries we buy, how we cook at eat and how willing we are to engage in sports and other fitness-related or health-related activities. Those in poverty (or very near it) tend to buy more processed foods because they're cheaper and don't spoil as quickly. The lack of good nutrition creates a situation where there is little energy or motivation to get outdoors and be active, join a gym (especially if money is an issue) or buy fitness equipment to use at home (again, especially if money is an issue). If you look at the states that have the lowest prevalence for obesity, they are areas where people walk a lot (big, Northern cities) or have lots of hiking trails and outdoor activities to stay physically active. They also have higher wages, which could be a reason that they may focus a bit more on health.

I am thinking of opening a health-related business. Unfortunately, I know how people in the South can be about changing their bad health habits (it seems that unhealthy eating, smoking and drinking are glorified down here). I have a feeling that despite seriously needing something like the service I plan to offer, it won't take off here. However, we're planning to move to San Francisco in a few years and I'm willing to bed my last dollar that it would take off there MUCH better than it would here in Georgia. It's sad, really... Report
Wow, this is a major eye opener! I'm in South Carolina and I didn't think we were that bad off. Well, in the area that I live in, all I see are people jogging and walking on the track so I figured our state was pretty much healthy. It's definitely important to get these numbers down because childhood obesity is rising way to quickly. We have to save our youth and our future! Report
You'll notice that the states with the highest rates of obesity also have high rates of poverty. While the states with lower obesity levels have lower rates of poverty. When a person can barely pay the rent/mortgage, how can they be expected to pay for healthcare, good quality food, gym membership, etc...

And while many members of Spark are well educated when it comes to nutrition, most of the American public just doesn't know what it means to eat right. Too many still think that French fries are a veggie ! If we want to decrease the rates of obesity, people need to be better educated about their health. It's not easy, but a person can eat healthy on a budget.
Wow, I can't believe Michigan and Indiana are the only 2 Northern states that made the top 10 highest obesity! And we can't necessarily always blame it on the snow. I wonder if not having enough sidewalks makes a difference. Report
On the self reported obesity ratings of states Oregon rated 26.7%. I think they lie. I sometimes sit in the car at Wally world and watch the plus size people go by. Maybe we all live in Southern Oregon. Report
to dreamwhopper What is the 90 day challenge? I live in Iowa, we were not on either list. I wonder where we rank! Report
I have lived in So Cal my whole life. When I moved to a beach city, I lost weight. It is easier where healthy, active people live because there are more options that cater to this population. So, each one of us can become one of that population and encourage others, then many will follow. Report
Our state FLORIDA has a high rate. I've been listening to Richard Johnson M.D. who wrote "The Sugar Fix" and his vlogs on YouTube have helped me understand how I got fat and what I can do to get slim again. All the sugar we have in cheap drinks (Sweet Tea anyone?) is one real issue for our Southern state. Report
I went from living in the Mid-West and being 60 pounds over weight to living in Colorado and losing that weight. There is SO much to do in Colorado that is outdoors and active. It helps that there is very low humidity as well... good bye A/C! Report
If BMI is in fact what they are using for this topic then I think it has to be skewed because BMI tables are skewed. My nephew weighs about 180lbs and is like 5'8". According to the BMI table he is overweight and nearly obese. He is thin as a twig and has wirey muscles for days because he hauls flats of equipment and paint and etc. around all day.
I have started with a 90 day challenge, have you heard of it? Report
Wow. What about the other countries? I will like to know. Report
This is a big health issue, for our nation and individually. I wish I could say this is an easy journey from obesity to healthy weight. But, I can't. One step forward two steps back. The idea for me, is to just keep walking, learning, doing.
I live in Arkansas and am fron Texas. Not so good for us southerners Report
Where I live in CA everyone is obese. I guess the whole 20 percent is in the San Joaquin Valley! Report
WOW! Living in Indiana, I knew that we were probably high on the list...but over 30% of the population?! So depressing to see! Report
WOW! Living in Indiana, I knew that we were probably high on the list...but over 30% of the population?! So depressing to see! Report
I'm in North Carolina. I'm surprised we didn't make the top ten of overweight. I'm sure we are very close to the bottom of healthy though. We certainly have our share of "super-sized" people. Fortunately, I am no longer one of them! And that's thanks to SP! Goal weight and holding for 17 months! WooHoo! Report
I've already broken down the barriers. I have 1 more coming up in Oct. with my surgery, but after that I will be back pushing the limits! Report
Well, my response is - that I'm working to not be in that percentage of obese people any more. It will take a while, but I will get there! Report
Definitely interesting to see California listed on the 10 Healthiest states, but sad to realize that is with a 23.8% obesity rate. Which I suppose is about right given looking around and unscientifically counting the number of scrawny, athletic, healthy, overweight, and obese people I see around me.

@TALKSTOHERSELF: There was a change in around 1998 to the Overweight category, but what I could find indicated it was U.S. agencies adjusting it to match WHO (World Health Organization) guidelines. That adjustment was from 27.5 to 25 - and meant about 5 million Americans who formerly were in the "Healthy" category found themselves in the "Overweight category".

Generally if we are below 30 BMI, we're in a range where we should rely on other numbers more - such as Body Fat % from as reliable a source as we can get, Waist to Hip ratio, and the like. Report
The CDC did a test study back in 2011: C.O.A.C.H.E.S. It was mainly for Senior Citizens who were over weight and UAMS was in charge of the study. The Senior Center in my town was picked. Unfortunately I didn't qualify: I'm a Sparker. The seniors were given all the information, encouraged to keep a journal of what they ate on a daily basis, and met at least once a month for updates from the CDC weight-ins. The study was a total loss on the Seniors here who participated. If anything, instead of reading the materials, following the diet guidelines and journaling none of the 12 participants lost weight. These stats are so miserably bad. I've lost the weight I wanted to lose, and kept it off. I give SPARK PEOPLE all the credit. Report
According to the link, obesity is determined using BMI numbers. There's a film out there called "The Thin Commandments" that claims Weight Watchers went to the government in the 90s and asked to have the BMI overweight category lowered... I haven't seen the film yet because I can't find it anywhere, but it makes me wonder how much we should rely on BMI. At 187 pounds and 5'6", I was considered obese by BMI. At 155, I was still overweight. Report
Oklahoma is ranked number 5 for the heaviest states. But Oklahoma City was recently ranked the fattest city in the US because of the lack of parks, walkability, bike lanes (or even people who will share the rode with cyclists), and the prevalence of fast food places. Looking around, I would say that is a pretty accurate conclusion. Report
Very startling statistics. Missouri just barely squeeked by making it in the list of The 10 heaviest states with the highest obesity prevalence with a rate of 30.3%. I think what is concerning about this list is that it is self reported, almost makes me wonder if the issue is really worse than we know. Report
It's really no suprise that my state (Texas) is ranked #1...there is a restaurant/fast food place on just about every corner in my city...and they are always crowded... Report
Every time I see these statistics, I think Colorado has bragging rights,
but when you realize even there, 1 out of 5 people is OBESE...well, we have a lot to do in our land of plenty.

Obesity makes treating health conditions more difficult. When I operated, every aspect was more difficult - from transferring the person from the guerney to the operating table, for the anesthesiologist determining the correct amount of medication to administer and then ventilate, the length of the instruments required and retractors for exposure, the extensive omentum in abdominal cases, the seepage from the fatty tissue that made the wound more likely to open back up, the increased risk of blood clots during recovery, and so much more.

This IS a public health issue, and thanks to SparkPeople, more people are being given the tools to turn this around. USE THE TOOLS. Let's be better together. Report
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