CDC map reveals America’s most obese states


A map from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows the US states and territories with the highest and lowest levels of obesity.

West Virginia is the most obese state in the country, with a prevalence of 40.6%. The state was closely followed by Kentucky with a prevalence of 40.3 percent.

Obesity is a common condition in the United States, affecting about one in five children and one in three adults, according to CDC figures. An estimated 70 million adults in the country are obese – in 2017, 41.9% of the adult population was classified as obese.

A map showing the prevalence of self-reported obesity in US adults by state and territory. The map was produced using data collected from 2019 to 2021 by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

The condition has a significant impact on the health of individuals and is associated with a higher risk of serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, severe outcomes from COVID- 19, as well as poor mental health.

Each year, the United States spends approximately $147 billion on health care related to the obesity epidemic.

A person is considered obese when their weight is above what is considered healthy for a given height. For adults, a body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher is in the obese range, while a body mass index of 40.0 or higher is classified as “severe” obesity. BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters. (You can calculate your BMI using this tool.)

The CDC map was created using data from 2019 to 2021 collected by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an ongoing telephone interview survey conducted by the agency and state health departments.

The data shows that nineteen states and two U.S. territories have an adult obesity prevalence of 35% and above, more than double the number that had a high prevalence in 2018, according to the CDC. A notable absence is Florida, which reported insufficient data to include on the map.

Man on scales and American flags
Stock image: Split image showing an individual standing on a scale and the American flag. The United States spends approximately $147 billion each year on obesity-related health care.

States and territories with an obesity prevalence of more than 35% are: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Carolina South, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Overall, the South had the highest prevalence of obesity (36.3%) among all regions, with the Midwest coming second (35.4%), followed by the Northeast (29.9%). ) and West (28.7%).

The data also reveals how obesity appears to be more prevalent in certain groups. For example, none of the 37 states and territories that provided sufficient data had an obesity prevalence of 35% or more among Asian adults. This compares to 36 states and the District of Columbia out of a total of 47 jurisdictions with sufficient data reporting a prevalence of 35% or more among non-Hispanic black adults.

Significant differences can also be observed in age and education levels. For example, adults without a high school diploma or equivalent had the highest rates of obesity (37.8%), with college graduates having the lowest rates (26.3%).

Meanwhile, adults aged 18-24 had the lowest rates of obesity (20.7%) compared to adults aged 45-54 who had the highest rates (39.3%) .

At the other end of the scale, the District of Columbia is said to have the lowest obesity rate in the United States with a prevalence of 24.7%.

Other states with lower prevalence of obesity include Colorado (25.1%), Massachusetts (27.4%), California (27.6%), New Jersey (28.2 %), Washington State (28.8%), New York (29.1%) and Vermont (29%). percent), according to the CDC map.


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