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 [CDC.gov]