Most States Are Getting Fatter, Report Finds

Obesity rates climbed in the majority of states last year, and no state reduced its obesity problem.

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Despite efforts to contain the spread of the American waistline, obesity rates in adults rose in 31 states last year—and no state experienced a decline, according to a report issued today by the nonprofit research group Trust for America's Health. The report also found that 85 percent of adults believe that obesity, with its health risks of heart disease and diabetes, has become an epidemic. Yet 22 percent of those surveyed said they never exercise.

Rates of obesity vary widely from state to state: Mississippi topped the annual ranking with a rate of almost 31 percent, while Colorado remained the leanest with a rate of just under 18 percent. With a childhood obesity rate of nearly 23 percent, Washington, D.C., won the shameful distinction of having the fattest youth.

Fattest States* for Adults

State Obesity Rate Diabetes Rate
Mississippi 30.6% 10.1%
West Virginia 29.8% 11.1%
Alabama 29.4% 9.3%
Louisiana 28.2% 8.9%
South Carolina & Tennessee (tie) 27.8% 9.4% (both)

Leanest States* for Adults

State Obesity Rate Diabetes Rate
Colorado 17.6% 4.8%
Massachusetts 19.8% 6.1%
Vermont 20.0% 5.8%
Connecticut & Hawaii (tie) 20.1% 6.3% (Conn.), 7.8% (Hawaii)
Rhode Island 20.5% 7.5%

Fattest States* for Kids

State Obesity Rate Physically Active**
Washington, D.C. 22.8% 62.1%
West Virginia 20.9% 77.1%
Kentucky 20.6% 68.4%
Tennessee 20.0% 65.1%
North Carolina 19.3% 74.4%

Leanest States* for Kids

State Obesity Rate Physically Active**
Utah 8.5% 71.7%
Wyoming 8.7% 76.8%
Colorado 9.9% 70.4%
Idaho & Minnesota (tie) 10.1% 70.5% (Idaho), 72.8% (Minn.)
Washington State 10.8% 72.9%

* includes Washington, D.C.
** percent participating in at least 20 minutes of physical activity three or more times per week
Source: Trust for America's Health (2007): F as in Failing: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America

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