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State Obesity Rankings: No Winners

Even in Leanest U.S. State, 1 in 5 Is Obese
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

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

 

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