Louisiana had the most number of obese adults in the United States in 2015, according to a report released by Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).
Based on The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, 36.2 percent of adults in Louisiana are obese, while Colorado was at the other end of the spectrum with 20.2 percent of its adult population obese.
Most states registered steady rates between 2014 and 2015 but drops were recorded in Ohio, New York, Montana and Minnesota. These reductions in the adult obesity rate are the first since a decline was reported in 2010 in Washington, D.C. and the first in the last 10 years for the states mentioned.
The report also notes increases in the adult obesity rate in two states: Kentucky and Kansas.
Further analysis of data puts the adult obesity rate at more than 35 percent across four states (Louisiana, Alabama, West Virginia and Mississippi), 30 percent and above in 25 states and above 20 percent across the board. Back in 1991, adult obesity rates did not exceed 20 percent in all states.
While the obesity rates for adults in the country remain high, it is important to note that they are increasing at an increasingly slower pace over the last 10 years. For example, in 2005, increases were reported in 49 states. This number dropped to 28 in 2010 and then down to two in 2014.
There are undoubtedly gains in the effort to curb obesity but excess weight continues to put millions of Americans at risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and obesity, costing the U.S. $147 billion to $210 billion every year.
Recently, obesity was also linked to eight more cancer types, bringing the total number of associated cancers to 13. Cancers linked to obesity include: thyroid, ovary, multiple myeloma (a blood cancer), pancreas, stomach, gall bladder, liver, meningioma (a brain tumor), colon, uterus, breast, esophagus and kidney.
Everyone is urged to pay attention to their health, but the Southern states have to work doubly hard as 9 of the 11 states with the highest rates of adult obesity are in the South.
Those looking to make the switch to a healthier lifestyle may find allies in internet- and mobile-based programs. According to researchers, using these programs are effective at helping people stick to their goals and achieve the positive changes they set out to do.
According to the TFAH and RWJF, policy makers can help in the fight against obesity by investing in prevention programs and focusing on initiatives that promote healthy eating and regular physical activity in children.
"This year's State of Obesity report is an urgent call to action for government, industry, healthcare, schools, child care and families around the country to join in the effort to provide a brighter, healthier future for our children," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, CEO and president of RWJF.
The report used data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System maintained by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.