Mississippi has the most obese residents of any of the 50 states. As a by-product, cases of diabetes and the costs of health care are high, along with premature deaths.
In 24/7 Wall St.’s “States With the Highest Obesity Rates,” the study’s authors summed up the Mississippi statistics:
> Obesity rate: 35.3%
> Pct. diabetic: 12.5% (the highest)
> Annual per capita health care cost: $10,507 (4th highest)
> Premature deaths per 100,000: 487.0 (the highest)
Incidentally, nine of the 10 most obese states are in the south: Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Oklahoma.
To identify the states with the highest obesity rates, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the percentage of adults in each state with a body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher — people with BMI values over this threshold are considered obese. Data came from County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program. The percentage of adults who have been diagnosed with diabetes, the number of deaths before age 75 per 100,000 people in a given year (the premature death rate), as well as annual health care costs also came from County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. Annual health care costs are based on the amount of price-adjusted medicare reimbursements per enrollee, a widely used approximation of per capita health care costs in a population. All data is as of the most recent period available.