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Fattest State in America 2012: How Obese is Your State?

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Aug 16, 2012 11:09 AM EDT

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A North Carolina passenger complained to US Airways after she was forced to sit between two obese passengers on a flight from Charlotte to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The woman says the other passengers were so big that they spilled into her seat. (Photo : Reuters)

The fattest state in America has been revealed for 2012. The Trust for America's Health has released a list of the fattest and skinniest states in America, with Mississippi topping the scales for it's sixth year.

There is no doubt that obesity is a problem in America as more than 35 percent of adults are considered to be obese, with a Body Mass Index over 30.

The list of data was published in Trust of America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America' Future."  The information comes from 2011 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention findings. The information was acquired through phone surveys.

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In 2011, Mississippi had a 34.9 percent obesity rate among its residents, making it the fattest state in America for the sixth year in a row. Colorado had the lowest percentage of obese residents at 20.7 percent. This means that not one state had less than 20 percent of obese residents. Twelve states have obesity rates over 30 percent. Only one state was above 30 percent just four years ago.

Twenty-six of the 30 states with the highest obesity percentage are located in the South or Midwest.

"Obesity has contributed to a stunning rise in chronic disease rates and health care costs. It is one of the biggest health crises the country has ever faced," said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, TFAH executive director.

"The good news is that we have a growing body of evidence and approaches that we know can help reduce obesity, improve nutrition and increase physical activity based on making healthier choices easier for Americans. The bad news is we're not investing anywhere near what we need to in order to bend the obesity curve and see the returns in terms of health and savings," Dr. Levi continued.

The report revealed how much the rate of obesity has grown over the past two decades. Twenty years ago, not one state had an obesity rate over 15 percent. Now more than two out of three states, 38 altogether, have an obesity percentage above 25.

"Today, the state with the lowest obesity rate would have had the highest rate in 1995," said Levi. "There was a clear tipping point in our national weight gain over the last twenty years, and we can't afford to ignore the impact obesity has on our health and corresponding health care spending."

Obesity, which can cause problems like diabetes, heart conditions, and high blood pressure, is a massive problem today. The amount of people diagnosed with diabetes has grown significantly since 1995. Diabetes rates hve doubled in eight states. While only four states had diabetes rates over 6 percent in 1995, 43 states have rates over 7 percent today and 32 have rates above 8 percent. In 1995, 37 states had hypertension rates over 20 percent. Today, every state is over 20 percent.

"The information in this report should spur us all -- individuals and policymakers alike -- to redouble our efforts to reverse this debilitating and costly epidemic," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO, in a statement. "Changing policies is an important way to provide children and families with vital resources and opportunities to make healthier choices easier in their day-to-day lives."

Here is the list of obesity rates across the country according to the CDC. The rates are listed from highest to lowest. A person is considered obese when they have a BMI over 30.

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. (tie) Indiana (30.8%); and South Carolina (30.8%)

10. (tie) Kentucky (30.4%); and Texas (30.4%)

12. Missouri (30.3%);

13. (tie) Kansas (29.6%); and Ohio (29.6%)

15. (tie) Tennessee (29.2%); and Virginia (29.2%)

17. North Carolina (29.1%)

18. Iowa (29.0%)

19. Delaware (28.8%)

20. Pennsylvania (28.6%)

21. Nebraska (28.4%)

22. Maryland (28.3%)

23. South Dakota (28.1%)

24. Georgia (28.0%)

25. (tie) Maine (27.8%); and North Dakota (27.8%)

27. Wisconsin (27.7%)

28. Alaska (27.4%)

29. Illinois (27.1%)

30. Idaho (27.0%)

31. Oregon (26.7%)

32. Florida (26.6%)

33. Washington (26.5%)

34. New Mexico (26.3%)

35. New Hampshire (26.2%)

36. Minnesota (25.7%)

37. (tie) Rhode Island (25.4%); and Vermont (25.4%)

39. Wyoming (25.0%)

40. Arizona (24.7%)

41. Montana (24.6%)

42. (tie) Connecticut (24.5%); Nevada (24.5%); and New York (24.5%)

45. Utah (24.4%)

46. California (23.8%)

47. (tie) District of Columbia (23.7%); and New Jersey (23.7%)

49. Massachusetts (22.7%)

50. Hawaii (21.8%);

51. Colorado (20.7%).



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