Along with the opioid epidemic, obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges in the United States. In much of the country, the problem is only getting worse. Some 27.7% of American adults are dangerously overweight, up from 23.2% 10 years ago.
While the root cause of obesity can change from one individual to the next, the health risks associated with obesity are clear. Obese adults are at higher risk for a host of serious and often deadly diseases and conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers, and diabetes.
While the incidence of obesity is up 4.5 percentage points nationwide over the past decade, in some regions, the uptick has been far more dramatic. In several counties — primarily in the South — obesity rates are up by over 13 percentage points.
In other parts of the country, however, obesity is less of a problem now than it was a decade ago. Bucking the national trend, several dozen counties have reported a lower obesity rate than 10 years ago. The declines have not been as dramatic as some of the increases, however, and obesity rates in only 15 counties nationwide declined by at least 1 percentage point compared to a decade ago.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed county-level obesity rates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify the counties gaining (and losing) the most weight.