The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released some fresh data on obesity rates across the nation this week. As you probably guessed, it ain’t looking good.
According to the new stats, at least 20 percent of adults in every single US state are obese. In seven states – Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia – over 35 percent of people are now obese. In general, the West Coast and the New England states on the East Coast appear to the least affected, while many of the worst-affected states can be found in the "deep south".
West Virginia has the highest rates of any state at 38.1 percent. Hawaii and Colorado were bottom of the league as the least obese states.
Adult obesity rates increased in Iowa, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and South Carolina between 2016 and 2017, and no states saw any declines.
The data on obesity highlights a whole number of complex social and economic issues, from cultural differences between the states to insights about race and poverty. As you can clearly see in the maps below, one prominent insight from the data was the glaring discrepancy between different ethnicities in the US. The average obesity rate for white adults was a little over 29 percent. For African-American adults, it was as high as 39 percent, and for Hispanics, it was 32 percent.
“This year’s State of Obesity report presents a stark illustration of the toll the obesity epidemic continues to take on our nation. A record number of states—seven—report adult obesity rates of at least 35 percent,” Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, said in a statement.
“Adult obesity rates now exceed 25 percent in 48 states. The epidemic continues to put millions of Americans at higher risk for a range of chronic diseases and costs our healthcare system billions of dollars each year."