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The 9 States with the Highest Obesity Rates


A new report shows the nation's obesity rates are holding relatively steady. Still, the numbers are not good.

Nearly one-third of Americans are now obese, according to a new report.

feet on scale

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health this week released their latest “State of Obesity” study, which look at the nation’s obesity problem on a state-by-state level. Nationally, more than 30% of adults had a Body Mass Index greater than 30.0 in 2014, which the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers to be the border between “obese” and “overweight.”

For the first time, three states had obesity rates in excess of 35%. Nearly half of US states — 22 – had obesity rates in excess of 30%.

Though America’s obesity rate remained high, the good news is that it has also held steady in recent years.

“Stabilizing rates is an accomplishment,” said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, the executive director of the Trust for America’s Health. “However, given the continued high rates, it isn’t time to celebrate. We’ve learned that if we invest in effective programs, we can see signs of progress. But we still haven’t invested enough to really tip the scales yet.”

Southern states continue to have the highest rates of obesity, followed by the Midwest. And the problem appears to get worse with age — 30% of adults ages 20 to 39 are obese, but the proportion jumps to 40% of the 40-59 age cohort.

The report concludes that obesity-prevention programs need to reach people at a young age.

“We know that when we take comprehensive steps to help families be more active and eat healthier foods, we can see progress,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, the president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Now we must extend those efforts and that progress to every community in the country.”

What follows are the nine states with the highest obesity rates last year. In addition to the state’s obesity rank and rate, we’ve included the state’s diabetes and hypertension rates and ranks, along with the state’s incidences of obesity-related cancer cases. All statistics are from 2014 unless otherwise noted.

North Dakota

Adult Obesity Rate: 32.2%

Diabetes Rate: 8.6% (43rd)

Hypertension Rate (2013): 29.7% (40th)

Obesity-Related Cancer Cases (2010): 11,572


8. Ohio

Adult Obesity Rate: 32.6%

Diabetes Rate: 11.7% (9th)

Hypertension Rate (2013): 33.5% (17th)

Obesity-Related Cancer Cases (2010): 185,989


7. Indiana

Adult Obesity Rate: 32.7%

Diabetes Rate: 10.7% (19th)

Hypertension Rate (2013): 33.5% (17th)

Obesity-Related Cancer Cases (2010): 99,188


6. Oklahoma

Adult Obesity Rate: 33.0%

Diabetes Rate: 12.0% (7th)

Hypertension Rate (2013): 37.5% (9th)

Obesity-Related Cancer Cases (2010): 59,906


5. Alabama

Adult Obesity Rate: 33.5%

Diabetes Rate: 12.9% (4th)

Hypertension Rate (2013): 40.3% (2nd)

Obesity-Related Cancer Cases (2010): 79,581


4. Louisiana

Adult Obesity Rate: 34.9%

Diabetes Rate: 11.3% (12th)

Hypertension Rate (2013): 39.8% (4th)

Obesity-Related Cancer Cases (2010): 69,400


3. Mississippi

Adult Obesity Rate: 35.5%

Diabetes Rate: 13.0% (2nd)

Hypertension Rate (2013): 40.2% (3rd)

Obesity-Related Cancer Cases (2010): 46,018

West Virginia

2. West Virginia

Adult Obesity Rate: 35.7%

Diabetes Rate: 14.1% (1st)

Hypertension Rate (2013): 41.0% (1st)

Obesity-Related Cancer Cases (2010): 33,990

North Dakota

1. Arkansas

Adult Obesity Rate: 35.9%

Diabetes Rate: 12.7% (5th)

Hypertension Rate (2013): 38.7% (7th)

Obesity-Related Cancer Cases (2010): 47,390

To view the full report, click here.

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