Skip to content

    Even in Leanest U.S. State, 1 in 5 Is Obese

    Aug. 13, 2012 -- At least 1 in 5 people is obese in every U.S. state, the CDC reported today.

    In the most obese states -- Mississippi and Louisiana -- more than 1 in 3 people is obese. But 10 other states are close behind, with more than 30% obesity among adults.

    The findings come from the CDC's annual self-report health survey, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System or BRFSS.

    Are Americans more obese than last year? Maybe, maybe not: The numbers can't be compared, because the BRFSS changed since last year, reaching out to people who only have cell phones and using a better system to analyze the data.

    Both those things mean the statistics should be more accurate -- but also make comparisons to earlier years meaningless. The new 2011 data will be the baseline to which future BRFSS reports will be compared.

    The CDC doesn't actually ask anyone whether they're obese. They ask their height and weight instead. This lets researchers calculate their body mass index or BMI. Obesity starts with a BMI of 30.

    Obesity State-by-State

    Here are the CDC's state-by-state obesity levels, listed in order of obesity:

    RANK

    STATE

    % OBESE

    1

    Mississippi

    34.9

    2

    Louisiana

    33.4

    3

    West Virginia

    32.4

    4

    Alabama

    32.0

    5

    Michigan

    31.3

    6

    Oklahoma

    31.1

    7

    Arkansas

    30.9

    8

    Indiana

    30.8

    8

    South Carolina

    30.8

    9

    Kentucky

    30.4

    9

    Texas

    30.4

    10

    Missouri

    30.3

    11

    Kansas

    29.6

    11

    Ohio

    29.6

    12

    Tennessee

    29.2

    12

    Virginia

    29.2

    13

    North Carolina

    29.1

    14

    Iowa

    29.0

    15

    Delaware

    28.8

    16

    Pennsylvania

    28.6

    17

    Nebraska

    28.4

    18

    Maryland

    28.3

    19

    South Dakota

    28.1

    20

    Georgia

    28.0

    21

    Maine

    27.8

    21

    North Dakota

    27.8

    22

    Wisconsin

    27.7

    23

    Alaska

    27.4

    24

    Illinois

    27.1

    25

    Idaho

    27.0

    26

    Oregon

    26.7

    27

    Florida

    26.6

    28

    Washington

    26.5

    29

    New Mexico

    26.3

    30

    New Hampshire

    26.2

    31

    Minnesota

    25.7

    32

    Rhode Island

    25.4

    32

    Vermont

    25.4

    33

    Wyoming

    25.0

    34

    Arizona

    24.7

    35

    Montana

    24.6

    36

    Connecticut

    24.5

    36

    Nevada

    24.5

    36

    New York

    24.5

    37

    Utah

    24.4

    38

    California

    23.8

    39

    District of Columbia

    23.7

    39

    New Jersey

    23.7

    40

    Massachusetts

    22.7

    41

    Hawaii

    21.8

    42

    Colorado

    20.7

    WebMD Health News

    Healthy Recipe Finder

    Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

    Top searches: Chicken, Chocolate, Salad, Desserts, Soup

    Heart Rate Calculator

    Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

    While you are exercising, you should count between...

    -
    Beats
    PER
    Seconds