The 12 Worst States of Obesity

Each year, the obesity rate amongst adults living in the USA, continues to steadily increase. In fact, 23 US states saw an increase in their obesity rates during the past year, whilst no state saw a decrease in their obesity rate.

Despite public health warnings by medical professionals and the US government, more and more adults are becoming obese, regardless of the fact that society places such a high regard on the importance of health and fitness.

Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit organization that is committed to preventing diseases and promoting good health amongst Americans, joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a charitable foundation that is devoted to improving the quality of health care that every American receives, in order to conduct a study regarding obesity rates across the USA.

The two organizations team up every year to run this study and this year was no exception. In July 2009, they released a report called ‘F as in Fat – How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009′.

The study was conducted by surveying every age group in every US state, in an attempt to establish the rate at which obesity either increases or decreases each year in comparison to previous years.

Apparently, the results of this year’s study came as a surprise to most of the researchers, as not a single US state had a decrease in their obesity rate in comparison to last year. On top of that, approximately 30% of all children surveyed in 30 of the 50 US states were considered to be obese. This discovery alone sheds some light on the future of America’s youth.

Another interesting phenomenon was that the majority of the states that were listed at the top of the obesity list were states that were in the southern and southeastern part of the USA. These areas are well known to be inhabited by food loving people who consume larger portions of food that does not always have a high percentage of healthy ingredients.

The top 12 states that were ranked with the highest obesity rate were as follows:

Mississippi
Alabama
West Virginia
Tennessee
South Carolina
Oklahoma
Kentucky
Louisiana
Michigan
Arkansas (tied with Ohio)
Ohio (tied with Arkansas)
North Carolina

As, you can see, Mississippi came in first in the study with the percentage of its adult population that were deemed to be obese being 32.5%; 44.4% of Mississippi children aged between 10 and 17 were considered to be obese as well. All of the first four states listed (Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia and Tennessee) were over 30%.

The state that ranked the best with only 18.9% of its adult population being obese was Colorado. After Colorado, the rest of the states with lower obesity rates included Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont – states that all resided on the east coast of the USA.

The study showed Hawaii being placed in the middle of the obesity argument by having only 21.8% of its adult population being considered overweight.

In order to keep things in perspective, it is interesting to note that 15% was the average obesity rate in 1980; and no state had an obesity rate of more than 20% in 1991. This all changed of course by 2008 as American’s become more and more obese.

This obesity report should be considered when taking into account the policies set forth by both the federal and state governments are intended to help cut down and prevent obesity among US citizens. The report graded their efforts as being an ‘F’.

Keep in mind that every American is experiencing troubling financial times due to the current state of economic affairs and cannot, therefore, afford to buy healthier foods and will, instead, opt for food items that are on sale or that are relatively cheap. Unfortunately in today’s world ‘cheap’ usually equates to being ‘unhealthy’. Also, people are eating more due to the stress and depression that has set upon because of the current economic recession.

It is good to note, however, that 27 states have implemented nutritional programs in their school systems that are designed to improve upon their current nutritional standards. There are also 20 states that are mandatorily testing school children to determine their body mass index as part of a physical education program.

Recommendations by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation were also included in the report. One such suggestion was that each American should be provided with preventative medical coverage for services which would include nutritional counseling.

Other recommendations included the establishment of programs aimed at making healthy foods more affordable, and supporting physical activities and correct nutrition amongst the baby boomer generation in an attempt to lessen the costs of Medicare in the future.

Photo Credit: cutup

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