More than one-third of American adults are obese, making them at risk for a laundry list of health complications. According to an annual report from Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, six states saw an increase in obesity rates in the last year and no states saw a decrease.
The six states that gained higher obesity rates include Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, New Jersey, Tennessee and Wyoming.
To show data, the Centers for Disease Control released a new map, which shows that out of the top ten most obese states, nine of them are in the south. Mississippi and West Virginia tied for the number one spot. For the first time in history, these two states broke the 35 percent mark. Colorado was the least obese state, with only 21.3 percent.
Just 30 years ago, there were no states that had an obesity rate over 15 percent. Today, 20 states have an obesity rate of at least 30 percent or more. "The rise was dramatic and quick," says Jeff Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health.
Rates of obesity are higher among, black, Latinos, as well as low-income Americans. "Adult obesity rates for blacks were at or above 40 percent in 11 states, 35 percent in 29 states and 30 percent in 41 states," researchers write. 15.6 percent of white girls are obese compared to 20 percent of African American and Latino girls.
"If we don't reverse these trends, the nation will stay on course toward disastrous health and cost outcomes," says Ginny Ehrlich, director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's childhood obesity team.
Poor eating habits and lack of exercise are to blame for the six state's obesity increase. "Until we start moving more and think more about the quality of the food we're eating, we're not going to fully reverse this epidemic," Levi says.
However, the report does show some progress. In 2005, the rate of obesity rose in every state except one, this year only six states had increased obseity rates.The rates of childhood obesity stabilized as well.
Some states have taken the initiative to reduce the rates of obesity by trying to ban large sugary drinks or by requiring fast food menus to include calorie counts. But these actions to prevent obesity are not outweighing the rate in which residents of some U.S. states are becoming obese. The researchers stressed that more needs to be done to make sure that all Americans, especially those living in minority communities, are educated about nutrition and exercise.