The States With The High­est Rates Of Obe­sity

ForbesWeekly - - NEWS - FOL­LOW NIALL MCCARTHY, FORBES CON­TRIB­U­TOR, AT www.forbes.com/sites/niallm­c­carthy

One third of U.S. adults are obese along with one in six chil­dren, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port re­leased by the Trust for Amer­ica’s Health and the Robert Wood John­son Foun­da­tion. Back in 2000, no state had an obe­sity rate higher then 25%. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, the adult obe­sity rate in 2016 ex­ceeded 35% in five states, 30% in 25 states and 25% in 46 states, though the trend is start­ing to sta­bi­lize and ac­tu­ally de­cline in some places. Obe­sity lev­els in­creased in Colorado, Min­nesota, Wash­ing­ton and West Vir­ginia and de­creased in Kansas, while re­main­ing sta­ble ev­ery­where else.

The progress in sta­bi­liz­ing the trend of grow­ing waist­lines can be at­trib­uted to state poli­cies im­prov­ing ac­cess to healthy food and in­creas­ing phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity. Early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion is par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive at pre­vent­ing obe­sity early on, in­stead of hav­ing to re­verse the prob­lem in later life. When it comes to the states post­ing the high­est rates of adult obe­sity, West Vir­ginia leads the way, record­ing 37.7% in 2016. Mis­sis­sippi comes close be­hind with 37.3%, while both Alabama and Arkansas jointly round off the top three with 35.7% each.

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