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Obesity Rates Jump in 28 States, Report Shows
Date:6/30/2010

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Americans are continuing to get fat, with obesity rates nudging upwards in 28 states over the past year, a new report shows.

"More than two-thirds of states now have adult obesity rates above 25 percent," Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health, said during a Tuesday news conference. "Back in 1991, not that long ago, not a single state had an obesity rate above 20 percent. There's been a dramatic change in a relatively short period."

"Obesity is one of the biggest public health crises in the country," Levi added. "Rising rates of obesity over past decades is one of the major factors behind skyrocketing health care costs in the U.S., one-quarter of which are related to obesity."

Mississippi weighed in for the sixth year in a row as the fattest state, with 33.8 percent of its adults obese, while Alabama and Tennessee tied for second (31.6 percent). The other top 10, also concentrated in the south, were West Virginia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arkansas, South Carolina and Michigan tying with North Carolina for 10th place (29.4 percent).

Michigan was the only state in the top 11 not in the South, an anomaly perhaps explained by the state's economy.

"Michigan certainly has been very hard hit, not just in the recent recession, but in the last decade or so," Levi explained.

And, as the report also shows, income is a major driver of the obesity epidemic. More than 35 percent of adults bringing in less than $15,000 a year were obese, vs. only 24.5 percent in the over-$50,000 income bracket.

The healthiest states in terms of weight were congregated in the Northeast and West. Colorado (19.1 percent) came in first, followed by Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Vermont, Rhode Island, Utah, Montana and New Jersey. The District of Columbia was the only region to experience
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