The Most and Least Obese States in the Nation

Just two states have seen adult obesity rates rise over the past year. Find out where waistlines are expanding.

The Most and Least Obese States in the Nation Photo by Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock.com

Kansas and Kentucky have taken the cake — maybe too much of it.

They’ve earned the dubious distinction of being the only two states where adult obesity rates increased from 2014 to 2015, according to the 13th annual “The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier Nation” report. Recently released by the nonprofits Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the report is based on data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In most states, adult obesity rates remained the same in 2015 as they were the prior year.

Rates declined in only four states:

  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New York
  • Ohio

On the bright side, 2015 was the first year obesity rates declined in any state or Washington, D.C., since 2010. The most recent report also finds evidence that obesity rates have been increasing at a slower pace over the past decade.

Richard Hamburg, interim president and CEO at the Trust for America’s Health, notes:

“These new data suggest that we are making some progress but there’s more yet to do. … Improving nutrition and increasing activity in early childhood, making healthy choices easier in people’s daily lives and targeting the startling inequities are all key approaches we need to ramp up.”

Despite any progress, obesity rates remain “high across the board,” as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation puts it in a statement. For example, adult obesity rates were:

  • More than 35 percent in four states.
  • At or more than 30 percent in 25 states.
  • More than 20 percent in all states.

Compare that with 1991, when no state had a rate of more than 20 percent.

The states with the highest rates in 2015 were:

  1. Louisiana (36.2 percent adult obesity rate)
  2. Alabama (35.6 percent)
  3. Mississippi (35.6 percent)
  4. West Virginia (35.6 percent)
  5. Kentucky (34.6 percent)

As supported by that list, the report notes that the largest concentration of obese states is in the South.

The states with the lowest obesity rates were:

  1. Colorado (20.2 percent)
  2. District of Columbia (22.1 percent)
  3. Hawaii (22.7 percent)
  4. Montana (23.6 percent)
  5. California (24.2 percent)

If you’re worried about your waistline, check out “9 Best Low-Cost Exercises for Weight Loss.”

What do you make of America’s latest obesity rates? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

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