How Fat Is Your State?

Is your state helping to topple the scales in America's war on the obesity epidemic? View a few jaw dropping facts about obesity rates around the country.

By Reader's Digest Editors

Obese America© Hemera/Thinkstock
A nationwide Gallup poll examining obesity rates for the first half of 2011 reveals which of the nation’s 50 states have the heaviest and the lightest populations. Where does your state stand (or, more likely, sit)? Keep reading (preferably on the treadmill).

  • With an obesity rate of 34 percent—the highest percentage Gallup has measured since it began analyzing obesity three years ago—West Virginia makes a repeat showing at the top of the list. Up from 33.5 percent last year, West Virginia represents an alarming trend among the heaviest states, where obesity rates continue to increase annually.

 

  • Colorado remains the nation’s slimmest state, holding steady from 2010 at a 20.1 percent rate of obesity. Although, even Colorado’s percentage has risen from 18.2 percent in 2008 and 19.5 percent in 2009. And while 20 percent is certainly healthier than 34 percent, it still means that one in five residents of American’s fittest state qualifies as obese.

 

  • The overall obesity rating for the United States in the first half of 2011 is 26.3 percent, a slight improvement over 2010’s 26.6 percent (although the difference is considered negligible by statisticians). The rate has increased more than a full percentage point since the annual poll began in 2008, when it was 25.5 percent.

 

  • Regionally, the highest levels of obesity are found in the South and Midwest, while the lowest levels are located in the West and Northeast.

 

  • The 10 states with the highest obesity rates include:
    West Virginia (34.3 percent), Delaware (33.6 percent), Mississippi (32.1 percent), Louisiana   (31.2 percent), South Carolina (30.6 percent), Indiana (30.5 percent), North Dakota (30.2 percent),        Oklahoma (30.2 percent), Kentucky (29.9 percent) and Ohio (29 percent)

 

  • The 10 states with the lowest obesity rates include:
    Colorado (20.1 percent), Utah (21.6 percent), Connecticut (21.7 percent), California (22.1 percent), Rhode Island (22.1 percent), Massachusetts (22.6 percent), New Jersey (22.6 percent), Nevada (23.6 percent), Minnesota (23.8 percent) and Florida (24.2 percent)

 

  • According to a recent article in the Washington Post, a new British study predicts that if obesity trends continue, more than 50 percent of American adults will be obese by the year 2030.

 

Sources: Gallup.com, Treehugger.com, Washington Post

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