Mapping The U.S. Obesity Crisis

While the American people continue their long binge-eat toward total obesity, new data suggests there may be a cure to stop children from developing the habits that turn them into fat adults.

It’s no secret that the U.S. is dealing with an obesity crisis. It’s only getting worse: between 2000 and 2008, pre-diabetes and diabetes rates in teens jumped from 8% to 23%. But in order to combat obesity, researchers need to know where the situation is most dire. An analysis from Trust for America’s Health breaks it down.

The states with the highest obesity rates, in order from most obese to least: Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Indiana and South Carolina (tied), and Kentucky and Texas (tied). In Mississippi, the most obese state, a staggering 34.9% of the population is obese. In Kentucky and Texas, 30.4% of the population is obese.

Even the states with the lowest obesity rates still have a problem. The top 10 least obese states: Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Washington DC and New Jersey (tie), California, Utah, and Connecticut, Nevada, and New York (three-way tie). Colorado, the fittest state, still has a 20.7% obesity rate.

There is no silver bullet to fixing this problem. But here’s an idea that might just help stop the problem where it starts: with bad childhood eating habits.

A study published earlier this month reports that teens living in states with strict laws about snack and soda sales in public schools gained less weight—on average 2.25 pounds fewer for a five foot person—over three years than teens living in states without those laws, according to the New York Times.

Some people might argue that the Big Brother-like steps that have been taken recently—like New York City’s ban on oversized soft drinks—will do little more than send sugar-lovers searching for other quick fixes. That may be true. But focusing in on kids and teens could curb junk food cravings before they get to the point where quick fixes are necessary.

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  • RichBeeatch

    I don't know where these 'facts' came from, but I disagree with the stats, and I AM a statistical analyst. I have lived in many of the states and here's MY order of fatness (for those states I've lived/worked in):

    IOWA -- most hugely fat people I've EVER seen (reminds me of Italy)
    Illinois -- #2
    Louisiana == tied with Illinois
    California (inland) -- #3 (also the most illegal aliens)
    New Jersey -- tied for #3 (but of course that state also has the lowest-classes of all)
    Hawaii -- #4 (but there is a high samoan/native hawai'ian population and they eat a LOT of spam and spam-like food)
    Florida -- #5 (Miami area in particular)
    Washington, DC -- #5 tie lots of people on welfare, ergo, hugely fat people
    Ohio -- #6
    New York -- #6 (ditto low-class peoples)
    Georgia & Mississippi - #7 tied

    Not so fat states:
    Utah, very low fat rate... Mormons tend to be disciplined, hard workers, physically fit
    Colorado -- fatter than Utahans but really not all that fit (don't know where THAT fake stat came from, maybe Boulder)
    Nevada & Connecticut (connecticut because of lipo)
    Texas (where did they get stats for TEXAS being 'fat'??? Brownsville,maybe, lots of illegals there... beaners)

    I don't care if you want to 'label' me a bigot, but this is based on my experientially acquired understanding.

  • Jgee

    Your rank is based on personal observation/opinion rather than stats yet you believe you are correct and the actual stats are incorrect? You are the dumbest person I have encountered today. Luckily it is so obvious you are an idiot that nobody will take you seriously. =)

  • Joe

    I was inclined to believe that a "Statistical Analyst" would have some respect for numbers and facts, but such an assumption was clearly wrong. What is the point of citing your profession and making yourself sound like an expert to argue actual research when all you are going to do is throw around your own asinine, uneducated opinions?