There’s no getting around it: America has a weight problem. Despite widespread efforts from a number of entities to encourage physical activity and promote healthier eating habits, obesity remains a serious and growing problem across the country.

Today, 35% of Americans are considered obese, a jarring figure that prompted the OECD to recently label the United States the most obese country in the world. Compounding the problem is that unhealthy lifestyle habits are imparted onto children at an early age. As a result, the percentage of obese children in the U.S. is greater than in any other country in the world.

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Not too long ago, the non-profit organization Trust for America’s Health put out an in-depth report covering the state of obesity in the United States for 2015. Underscoring the seriousness with which we need to take this growing health problem, the report boldly claims that “if we fail to change the course of the nation’s obesity epidemic, the current generation of young people may be the first in American history to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents.”

The report in its entirety is well worth taking a look at, but there are a few data points we felt were worth sharing, especially pertaining to how obesity rates break down on a state by state basis.

According to the report, “22 states have adult obesity rates above 30 percent, 45 states have rates above 25 percent, and every state is above 20 percent.” By way of contrast, no state back in 1980 had an obesity rate greater than 15%.

state obesity

Breaking things down state by state, below are the states with the highest obesity rates.

  1. Arkansas – 35.9% of population is obese
  2. West Virginia – 35.7% of population is obese
  3. Mississippi – 35.5% of population is obese
  4. Louisiana – 34.9% of population is obese
  5. Alabama – 33.5% of population is obese
  6. Oklahoma – 33.0% of population is obese
  7. Indiana – 32.7% of population is obese
  8. Ohio – 32.6% of population is obese
  9. North Dakota – 32.2% of population is obese
  10. South Carolina – 32.1% of population is obese

And listed below are the states with the lowest obesity rates.

  1. Colorado – 21.3% of population is obese
  2. D.C. – 21.7% of population is obese
  3. Hawaii – 22.1% of population is obese
  4. Massachusetts – 23.3% of population is obese
  5. California – 24.7% of population is obese
  6. Vermont – 24.8% of population is obese
  7. Utah – 25.7% of population is obese
  8. Florida – 26.2% of population is obese
  9. Connecticut – 26.3% of population is obese
  10. Montana – 26.4% of population is obese

And highlighting how quickly obesity became such a problem in the U.S., while also underscoring how preventable it is, the following charts are telling.

obesity trends 1obesity trends 2

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