Healthcare Economy

The Most Obese State in America

Obesity causes a long list of health and even death problems, including high blood pressure, high LDL and low HDL cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke and breathing problems. These are only a part of the risk. Still, many Americans are overweight, or rather “obese,” which is the official term. (Here are 16 common myths about obesity that need to go away.)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines obesity as a body mass index (BMI) of over 30. Forty-two percent of Americans “live with obesity,” which means they probably will die from obesity as well. A study from NORC at the University of Chicago pulled information from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to “estimate the prevalence of obesity at the state and national level in the U.S.” The CDC does this as well.

Obesity rates can be categorized in several ways, the study shows. The level among Black Americans is 50%. Among people with less than a high school education, the rate is 48%. Among people in “non-metro” areas, the number is 48%.

From 2019 to 2021, there was a large variance was by state. The state with the highest obesity level was West Virginia, at 51%. The figure in Mississippi was the same. It was nearly as bad in Oklahoma and Alabama (both 49%). The state with the lowest level was Colorado (34%).

The American Medical Association (AMA) has stated obesity is a disease. It may be higher in some people because of genes, “an imbalance between food and activity,” whether people live in areas with parks and other places to walk in, and hormonal conditions.

The AMA comments on the causes of obesity missed one issue. Do people who live in West Virginia have more genetic problems than those who live in Colorado? Probably not.

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