How Fat Is Your State? The Latest Rankings

This is another example of where bigger is NOT better. In fact, it’s bigger that has got us into this mess: larger servings at restaurants, Bigger Gulps of soft drinks, and Super Size-ing this, that, and the other processed snack thing over there. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the most recent U.S. obesity rates by state.

Measured by the Centers for Disease Control and reported on by the Trust for America’s Health, the bottom line is that our bottoms keep expanding, well past where they should be and to a degree where it affects all Americans thanks to increased healthcare costs associated with excessive weight gain. (In 2008, the annual medical cost for an obese individual was almost $1500 higher than someone whose weight was in the normal range.)

2011 US Obesity Rates

Here are the state-by-state obesity rankings from the CDC:

1. Mississippi (34.9%); 2. Louisiana (33.4%); 3. West Virginia (32.4%); 4. Alabama (32.0%); 5. Michigan (31.3%); 6. Oklahoma (31.1%); 7. Arkansas (30.9%); 8. (tie) Indiana (30.8%); and South Carolina (30.8%); 10. (tie) Kentucky (30.4%); and Texas (30.4%); 12. Missouri (30.3%); 13. (tie) Kansas (29.6%); and Ohio (29.6%); 15. (tie) Tennessee (29.2%); and Virginia (29.2%); 17. North Carolina (29.1%); 18. Iowa (29.0%); 19. Delaware (28.8%); 20. Pennsylvania (28.6%); 21. Nebraska (28.4%); 22. Maryland (28.3%); 23. South Dakota (28.1%); 24. Georgia (28.0%); 25. (tie) Maine (27.8%); and North Dakota (27.8%); 27. Wisconsin (27.7%); 28. Alaska (27.4%): 29. Illinois (27.1%); 30. Idaho (27.0%); 31. Oregon (26.7%); 32. Florida (26.6%); 33. Washington (26.5%); 34. New Mexico (26.3%); 35. New Hampshire (26.2%); 36. Minnesota (25.7%); 37. (tie) Rhode Island (25.4%); and Vermont (25.4%); 39. Wyoming (25.0%); 40. Arizona (24.7%); 41. Montana (24.6%); 42. (tie) Connecticut (24.5%); Nevada (24.5%); and New York (24.5%); 45. Utah (24.4%); 46. California (23.8%); 47. (tie) District of Columbia (23.7%); and New Jersey (23.7%); 49. Massachusetts (22.7%); 50. Hawaii (21.8%); 51. Colorado (20.7%)

To put these numbers in perspective, the rates from 10 years earlier (2001) had 22 states with rates below 20% and only one state (Mississippi) above 25%. In a decade, 20% has become the lowest figure any state is reporting and 39 states have cracked the 25% barrier.

Sadly, it’s not only the United States that is dealing with this issue. The European Union has also seen obesity rates double among their 27-member countries over the last two decades. Although not approaching the levels of Americans (the EU obesity rate was 15.5%), Europeans are also experiencing similar weight gains and associated health issues.

When will the tipping point for obesity happen? Will we reach a point where people take action to reverse the growth of these numbers? And it’s up to individuals to take action by eating healthier and exercising; the government and health and food industries have too many financial incentives to not properly address these issues.

C’mon America. We’ve faced greater challenges in our history before, and we’re nearing the point of no return here as well. Will we take action? Or are we just a little too comfy on the couch instead?

About Greg Wymer

Greg Wymer is Principal and Chief of Creative for Healthy Dose Media. He was an award-winning radio copywriter and morning show producer for WFNX-FM in Boston in the 1990s, and in the 2000s won Best Viral Marketing Campaign and Best Non-Profit Campaign for his work with e-tractions, a provider of custom online entertainment. Before launching Healthy Dose Media, he spent 10 years at the MIT Enterprise Forum working as a developer of programs, content, and marketing for a global audience of startups and entrepreneurs. Greg has been a mobile and club DJ for 25 years, created and ran a pub trivia night called Useless Trivia, and is on the Board of Directors of ImprovBoston, where he performed as a cast member of its Mainstage for seven years.

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7 Responses to How Fat Is Your State? The Latest Rankings

  1. Joe August 28, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    First time on your site. Great info unfortunately I live in Michigan which is in the highest tier. Started this week trying to reduce Michigan’s numbers by 1!

  2. Lisa Johnson August 28, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    Go Joe … :-) every person does actually count in this …

  3. Vista Family Dentist August 28, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

    Wow! This sounds alarming. Absolutely, This is not a good example of bigger and better. Do you think we can still moderate the problems of obesity?

  4. Lisa Johnson August 29, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    Vista … nodding sadly in agreement ~ LJ

  5. Tara Burner August 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    well FL is #32

  6. Michael lindsay August 29, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    I knew the numbers are growing, but it’s really alarming to see that the growth is approach exponential values. We are working diligently here in NC to try and help the situation. Sadly, even when you give people the methods and means to get healthier, many still do not see the way. We keep on showing them anyway. Thanks for a great article.

    Michael

  7. Glenn August 29, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    The fight is on! Let’s join together in the fight against obesity!

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