CDC Study Reveals That At Least 20% Of People In Each State In America Are Obese

It isn’t just the nation’s overweight children we need to worry about — the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows exactly how widespread America’s obesity problem is among the adult population in no uncertain terms. So how fat are we, really? The CDC says that every single state in the country has an obesity rate of at least 20%, and 12 states hit 30% and above.

The CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System project puts it all out there on a color-coded map of obesity rates by state, in warm hues of peach, yellow, orange and red. Looks swell, until you realize that unlike in 1985, there are no blue or white colors on the map, which would represent obesity rates below 20%.

The CDC points out, however, that 2011 cannot be compared to any years before it, really, because of a change in methodology. It’s still a bit of a shock to cycle through the years, starting out in cool hues and watching the warmer colors creep onto the map and eventually take it over by 2010.

An important part of the BRFSS, which also tracks health issues like smoking, heart disease and cancer, is that it’s the result of a huge annual telephone survey, so these obesity rates are self-reported.

The state with the lowest rate of obesity prevalence is Colorado at 20.7%, whereas Mississippi — the poorest state in the country — had the highest rate of 34.9%. There were 39 states in all that were over 25% and 12 with a rate of 30% or higher. By region: Southern states overall had an obesity prevalence of 29.5; the Midwest clocked in at an even 29%; the Northeast had a rate of 25.3% and the West came in with the lowest rate of 24.3%.

As the CDC notes, not one single state met the Healthy People 2010 goal of lowering obesity prevalence of only 15%, and instead went in the other direction. This is in stark contrast to 2000, when there weren’t any states with rates higher than 30%.

Check out the animated map on the CDC’s site to check out the historical creeping of obesity rates and see if you don’t feel like eating a big, healthy salad for lunch.

Adult Obesity Facts []


Edit Your Comment

  1. Applekid says:

    To be fair, I think I count as two people about now.

  2. eccsame says:

    Wouldn’t be an issue if more people smoked. Obesity rates have risen as the number of smokers have fallen. Smoking keeps you trim and helps you stay focused.

    That’s why China is full of skinny people who are good at Olympics and hard workers. They all smoke like chimneys.

    • Coffee says:

      While we’re at it, we should really look at relaxing those methamphetamine laws.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      The appetite suppression provided by nicotine is no match for today’s ever-present junk food and high fructose corn syrup-laden diets. I’m thinking we need to put most of the population on methamphetamine. You know, for their health.

      • luxosaucer13 says:

        Given the fact that trace amounts of pharmaceuticals are already present in most cities’ water supply, who says the population isn’t on meth ALREADY?

        Would explain some of the things that happen at Wal-Marts across the nation.

      • edrooney says:

        I’ve seen the same results with crack. I’ve never seen a fat crack head because they don’t exist. More crack, less snack. Solved.

        • crispyduck13 says:

          Free crack for everyone!!

          • eccsame says:

            That’s just what Obama and his socialist friends want. Just remember, the Republicans started the low-income cocaine program for the poor back in the early 80s and yet people accuse the party of not caring about minorities and poverty-striken.

            • crispyduck13 says:

              Wow, somehow insulting both prominent political parties at the same time yet still coming off as a rightwing nut. It would be impressive if it weren’t so damn worthless and irritating.

              • eccsame says:

                You can’t call any response to “free crack for everyone” worthless and irritating as it is, on its own, anything but useful and ingratiating

                • crispyduck13 says:

                  Your lack of interpretation skills for internet comments is astonishing, I can only assume it’s also that bad in real life. Can I just ask what you expect to gain by hanging around here and killing everyone’s buzz?

                  No free crack for you!

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    *raises hand*


  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    But what the real problem is that 20% of the entire nation just can’t take personal responsibility for themselves.No external factors. The situation isn’t complicated. It’s totally their own fault, AMIRITE?!!!

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      No no no. It’s American society’s fault. That’s why we should spend billions in public money so the government can become these peoples’ parent and tell them what to do.

      Tax the thin!

      • JEDIDIAH says:

        …or we could just stop the “corn sugar” subsidies.

        Big Government is basically paying Big Business to make us fat.

        If only there was some group that claims to champion smaller government…

      • Kate Blue says:

        No, you don’t spend public money to blame people, you spend it to help.

        Because apparently you think that the only way to help people is to only reward those people who don’t have their problem.

        • TheMansfieldMauler says:

          You don’t need to spend any public money to help. There are already more than enough public and free resources available for anyone who needs that kind of help and wants it.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            How do you think those PUBLIC resources are paid for? With lint?

    • dolemite says:

      The real problem (and here comes my conspiracy theory). Corporations. They are the true root of all evil. When we say money is the root of all evil, we aren’t talking about bank accounts, we are talking corporations in bed with our government. Due to lobbying, subsidies, etc., our entire agricultural system has been revamped. One example is corn. Since it’s subsidized and highly profitable, we’ve found ways to put it into just about every processed food and drink we ingest, as well as fuel, packaging and anything in-between. It allows for cheaper beef, etc. So a double cheeseburger is .99, despite being a mesh of cheese, bread, meats, but a single large apple may also run you .99, because “good” fruits and vegetables do not get the same subsidies and considerations as others. Oh, and corporations are the cause of our welfare system, broken families and about 10 more ills of society.

  5. Coffee says:

    I recently read a study that showed an obesity rate of less than 35% in all states. Good job, guys!

  6. RedOryx says:

    I feel that this is the perfect opportunity to announce that as of yesterday I have lost ONE HUNDRED (AND TWO) POUNDS.

    Still obese, though. Stupid BMI chart.

  7. Not Given says:

    If you want to know why we have added 400 calories/day to our diets, download Amy Alkon’s show this week.
    [audio src="" /]

  8. StatusfriedCrustomer says:

    Food is the new fun.

  9. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    So Mississippi will survive the longest in the event of a famine?

    • crispyduck13 says:

      Silver linings. They’re great until someone from Mississippi uses them for sausage casing.

    • Coffee says:

      Yes, but when the zombie apocalypse rolls around, they’re fucked. Funniest zombies, though. The ones on the motorized Walmart carts are my faves. BRRAAI*GURGLEGURGLEURGLE*IIIIINNNSSSS

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Yes and no.. if the zombie apocalpyse spreads by human to human contamination, the rural parts might be able to avoid the infestation longer than the cities. But once it does reach the rural parts, yeah that’s pretty much when you’re screwed. You won’t get help for miles and it means all of the cities have been infected. Now, if it’s like the zombies in Stephen King’s “Cell,” it won’t matter where you are because those zombies are telepathic.

    • Snaptastic says:

      Nope. Given what I saw during Hurricane Katrina, a significant chunk of Mississippians will die because they will either be too busy praying, waiting for someone to help them, or both. Kind of like domesticated animals, they have been nurtured by outside forces too long to be able to fend for themselves.

      <– Used to live in Mississippi, moved to Colorado.

      • Press1forDialTone says:

        That’s pretty harsh. But then I feel the same way about the right-wingnuts
        who live in Colorado.

    • Press1forDialTone says:

      They will never have a famine.
      Fantastically delicious food is a religion in Mississippi, note I said nothing
      about it all being perfectly healthy…
      But I will admit that I have wonderful relatives in Miss. that are also
      fantastic cooks and know fantastic restaurants and I pace myself
      in the number of visits so that I can still fit through the door of my house
      when I return.

  10. kenj0418 says:

    The “20% of people in each state” figure doesn’t even take into account all of the people that overlap into more than one state.

  11. chizu says:

    If you consider that some ethnicity has a slightly different BMI scale — the number might actually be even higher. Being both (relatively) short (compared to the rest of America) and Asian, if I’m on the “regular” scale, I’m perfectly healthy. But if I’m on the Asian scale, I’m well over “overweight” and probably only 5-10 pounds away from being “obese”.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      You might have a higher BMI relative to what is average for your ethnicity, but it would be stupid to consider a short Asian person obese just because the average for that ethnicity says so. There are plenty of tall Asian people and short white people. They don’t get their own scales. Also, nationality plays a part as well. There isn’t a separate scale for short Asian American people. Asian people in the U.S. tend to be bigger than Asian people in Asia..part of it is because they have access to more food. That’s a good thing if the alternative is living in rural China and eating scraps.

  12. mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

    I know correlation != causation, but the following chart also shows a fairly dramatic data shift around 1985, with sugar use rapidly declining over the previous 10 years and HFCS rapidly increasing in almost perfect symmetry.

    If there is any causation, then the good news is that HFCS use appears to be slowly trending down. But the bad new is that its use has more or less plateaued from 1985-2010, suggesting there might be a cumulative effect over the long term.

    • alexwade says:

      I lost 10 pounds over several years by doing nothing more than replacing my Dr. Pepper drink with homemade sweet tea. I also saved money too. I have toned down the sugar in my tea but when I first made the switch I had my tea super sweet. I also started to become a little more active and now I’m 25 pounds lighter.

      Because of my experience, you can’t tell me that HFCS isn’t worse for you than sugar.

      The only sodas I drink now are sugar ones or a fountain Dr. Pepper. But I usually only drink those once a month.

  13. Press1forDialTone says:

    The person or persons who let that beautiful cat get so obese should
    be shot through their temple.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      One of the pictures of extremely fat cats we use is actually of a pregnant cat. This is not it.