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By 2030, Obesity Rates Could Top 60% in 13 States

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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 18, 2012 -- America's weight report card is in. The grades aren't good, and they're on a path to get much worse.

Right now, 12 states have adult obesity rates above 30%, according to the report, "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012," issued jointly by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Mississippi had the highest rate, with 34.9% of its residents obese, defined as a body mass index or BMI of 30 or more.

Colorado has the lowest obesity rate, with 20.7% of residents obese. However, by 2030, 13 states could have obesity rates topping 60%, according to the report's predictions.

"We have a choice to make between a future where we continue to see dramatic rises in obesity and the diseases associated with it, or we take the steps that make our communities healthier and reduce that course," says Jeff Levi, PhD, executive director of Trust for America's Health, a nonprofit organization dedicated to disease prevention.

"If we stay on the current course, we could see obesity rates that are already unacceptable double in some states," he says.

Obesity Rates Today

The 12 states that already have an adult obesity rate above 30% include:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • West Virginia

The top 10 states with the lowest obesity rates:

  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • California
  • Utah
  • New York
  • Nevada (tie)
  • Connecticut (tie)
  • Montana

Obesity Predictions

Based on the projections, the 13 states that could have adult obesity rates of more than 60% by 2030 include:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia

Along with rising obesity, the researchers say, will be an increase in obesity-related diseases.

If obesity rates continue on their current course, the experts found, the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and arthritis could rise 10 times between now and 2020.

It could then double again by 2030, according to the report.

Obesity Predictions: Solutions

If states could reduce the average adult BMI by just 5%, the researchers estimate, no state would have an obesity rate above 60%.

For an adult of average weight, the researchers say, reducing BMI by 1% is about equal to losing 2.2 pounds.

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