These are the states with the highest and lowest obesity rates

Obesity is becoming more prevalent across the United States, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2021, 19 states saw at least 35% of adults with a body mass index of 30 or more, the government’s obesity threshold. In 2022, that increased to 22 states.

The data was gathered through a variety of sources based on self-reported height and weight, the CDC said. BMI is calculated by dividing the two.

In 2022, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Louisiana had the highest rates in the nation with more than 40% of adults considered obese. Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio weren’t far behind.

2022 CDC Obesity Map
2022 Obesity Prevalence Map. (CDC)

On the other end of the spectrum, Washington, DC., Colorado, Hawaii, Vermont, the Virgin Islands, Massachusetts and California had the lowest prevalence of obesity.

Regionally, the Midwest and South had the highest prevalence, followed by the Northeast and the West, the CDC said.

Other CDC findings:

  • From 1999 through March 2020, obesity prevalence increased from 30.5% to 41.9% of U.S. adults, and severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%.
  • Obesity prevalence decreased as the level of education increased. Adults without a high school diploma or equivalent had the highest prevalence of obesity (37.6%), followed by adults with some college education (35.9%) or high school graduates (35.7%), and then by college graduates (27.2%).
  • Young adults were half as likely to have obesity as middle-aged adults. Adults aged 18–24 had the lowest prevalence of obesity (20.5%) compared to adults aged 45–54, who had the highest prevalence (39.9%).
  • Men and women with college degrees had lower obesity prevalence compared with those with less education.
  • Among men, obesity prevalence was lower in the lowest and highest income groups compared with the middle-income group. 

By race:

  • Non-Hispanic Black adults (49.9%) had the highest prevalence of obesity.
  • Hispanic adults (45.6%) had the second highest.
  • Non-Hispanic White adults: 41.4%
  • Non-Hispanic Asian adults (16.1%) had the lowest prevalence.

Experts say obesity is linked to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, and it is among the leading causes of preventable, premature death.

It is also an economic and financial issue for many Americans.

According to the CDC, annual medical costs for obese adults are $1,861 higher than for healthier adults.

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