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Analysis Finds That 12 States Have Adult Obesity Rates Above 30%

Rates are highest in the Midwest and South

Twelve states currently have an adult obesity rate that exceeds 30%, according to a new analysis released on August 13 by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The study used the state obesity rates made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Mississippi had the highest rate of obesity at 34.9%, while Colorado had the lowest rate at 20.7%. Twenty-six of the 30 states with the highest obesity rates are in the Midwest and the South.

The 12 states with the highest obesity rates were: 1) Mississippi (34.9%); 2) Louisiana (33.4%); 3) West Virginia (32.4%); 4) Alabama (32.0%); 5) Michigan (31.3%); 6) Oklahoma (31.1%); 7) Arkansas (30.9%); 8) Indiana (30.8%); 9) South Carolina (30.8%); 10) Kentucky (30.4%); 11) Texas (30.4%); and 12) Missouri (30.3%).

Later this summer, TFAH and RWJF will release the 2012 edition of F as in Fat, an annual report that analyzes state obesity rates and policy efforts to address the epidemic, and provides policy recommendations. For the first time, the 2012 report will include a study that forecasts 2030 obesity rates in each state and the likely resulting increase in obesity-related disease rates and healthcare costs.

The analysis also will examine the potential effect of a 5% reduction in body mass index (BMI) levels and the number of Americans who could be spared from type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, hypertension, arthritis, and obesity-related cancers if they were able to achieve that reduction.

In addition, the forecast will feature the cost savings that could be achieved in each state as a result of a 5% BMI reduction. For a six-foot-tall person weighing 200 pounds, a 5% reduction in BMI would be the equivalent of losing roughly 10 pounds.

In 2006, obesity-related medical costs totaled $147 billion a year in the U.S., or nearly 10% of total medical spending, according to a 2011 study in Health Affairs. Most of the spending was generated from treating obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes.

For more information, visit the Trust for America’s Health Web site.

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