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Ranks of Obese Adults Grew in All States from 1995-2005, Says CDC

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Sept. 14, 2006 -- Mississippi has America's highest percentage of obese adults and Colorado has the lowest percentage, says the CDC.

The CDC reports that six in 10 U.S. adults are overweight or obese, including nearly a quarter who are obese.

Those figures appear in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The statistics are based on more than 333,000 adults aged 18 and older who reported their height and weight in a 2005 survey conducted via telephone.

The percentage of obese adults ranged from 17.4% to 30.3% among states in 2005. Curious about how your state ranks? Read on.

State-by-State List

Here is the CDC's list of adult obesityobesity prevalence, from highest to lowest, for each state and Washington, D.C. Ties are listed in alphabetical order.

1. Mississippi: 30.3%

2. West Virginia: 30.1%

3. Louisiana: 30%

4. South Carolina: 28.5%

5. Alabama: 28.1%

6. Kentucky: 27.9%

7. Arkansas: 27.2%

8. Alaska: 26.9%

9. Tennessee: 26.7%

10. Indiana: 26.4%

11. Texas: 26.3%

12. Missouri: 26.2%

13. Oklahoma: 26.1%

14. Georgia: 25.9%

15. Michigan: 25.5%

16. North Carolina: 25.4%

17. Nebraska: 25.1%

18. South Dakota: 24.9%

19. Iowa: 24.7%

19. North Dakota: 24.7%

20. Pennsylvania: 24.6%

21. Virginia: 24.5%

22. Illinois: 24.3%

23. Ohio: 23.9%

23. Wisconsin: 23.9%

24. Idaho: 23.8%

24. Maryland: 23.8%

25. Wyoming: 23.5%

26. Kansas: 23.4%

27. Oregon: 23.1%

28. Minnesota: 22.9%

29. Delaware: 22.8%

30. Washington: 22.7%

31. Florida: 22.3%

31. Maine: 22.3%

31. New Hampshire: 22.3%

32. California: 22%

33. New York: 21.6%

34. New Jersey: 21.5%

35. New Mexico: 21.2%

36. Washington, D.C.: 21.1%

37. Arizona: 20.9%

38. Utah: 20.8%

39. Nevada: 20.7%

40. Montana: 20.6%

41. Rhode Island: 20.5%

42. Massachusetts: 20.1%

43. Vermont: 19.8%

44. Connecticut: 19.3%

45. Hawaii: 19.1%

46. Colorado: 17.4%

Continued

The Obesity Boom

The CDC used participants' self-reported height and weight to calculate BMI (body mass index). Here are the cutoffs for overweight and obese BMI:

  • Overweight BMI: 25 to 29.9
  • Obese BMI: 30 and higher
  • Extremely obese BMI: 40 and higher.

In 2005 60.5% of U.S. adults were overweight, obese, or extremely obese.

Most of those people were overweight but not obese. However, almost 24% were obese and 3% were extremely obese.

America's obesity boom touched every state.

Adult obesity became more common in all states from 1995-2005, the CDC reports.

For instance, in every state in 1995, fewer than one in five adults were obese. That was true of 28 states in 2000 and only four states -- Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Vermont -- in 2005.

In 2005, obese adults accounted for at least a quarter of residents in 17 states and at least 30% of residents of three states -- Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia.

Other Obesity Findings

About 24% of men and women were obese in 2005, says the CDC.

Obesity was least common among adults aged 18-29 years (nearly 18%) and most common among those in their 50s (nearly 30%).

The CDC also broke the obesity data down among whites, blacks, and Hispanics.

About 22% of whites, nearly 34% of blacks, and about 26% of Hispanics were obese in 2005.

More work is needed to reverse America's continued trend toward obesity, says the CDC.

If you're carrying extra pounds that you want to shed, talk to your doctor for pointers on losing weight safely and keeping the pounds off.

Fudge Factor

Survey participants didn't have to step on a scale. They just reported their weight and height by telephone. No one checked that those reports were accurate.

Many people underestimate their weight, the CDC notes. That may be why the CDC's overweight and obesity statistics are higher in studies in which people are weighed.

Those studies show that two-thirds of U.S. adults 20 years old and over are overweight or obese, including 32% who are obese.

WebMD Health News Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on September 14, 2006

Sources

SOURCES: CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Sept. 15, 2006; vol 55: pp 985-988. CDC: "Fast Stats: Overweight." CDC: "Obesity Prevalence Among Adults by State -- BRFSS 1195, 2000, 2005." News release, CDC.
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